Europe Backs Venezuela's Juan Guaido As Anti-President Bloc Grows

UK recognises Juan Guaido as interim President of Venezuela

The U.K., Germany and France led a host of European countries in recognizing Venezuelan National Assembly leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim president on Monday, joining an worldwide push led by the USA censuring Nicolas Maduro and calling for new elections.

The coordinated recognition by a flood of European Union nations including Britain, Germany, France and Spain followed the expiration of an ultimatum for Maduro to call a new presidential election, aligning them with Washington and against Russian Federation and China.

Maduro, for his part, stood defiant, accusing the United States of preparing a coup in the South American country and rejecting a USA -backed effort to send emergency food and medicine into his country.

Wallstrom echoed Hunt and Sanchez in their calls for an election to take place as soon as possible, she said: "Venezuela is a country in disrepair". It is time for free and fair elections.

The Russian presidential spokesman thus responded to a journalist's question about the circumstances under which Russia could recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the republic's interim president.

Military: Maduro through his allies controls most of Venezuela's main state institutions - most importantly the military.

"Individual EU Member States will acknowledge Mr. Juan Guaido, President of the National Assembly, as President ad interim of Venezuela", the proposed joint statement said, calling for "free, fair and democratic presidential elections".

During the protest, Guaido announced the installation of collection centres for medicine and food - items lacking in Venezuela - in neighbouring Colombia and Brazil. He says the constitution allows him to assume power temporarily when the president is deemed illegitimate.

In addition to the European pressure, a bloc of Latin American nations and Canada were to meet on Monday seeking to maintain pressure on President Maduro.

Turning to Washington's role in the Venezuelan crisis, Maduro claimed that "the military option is on (U.S. President) Donald Trump's table".

In Europe, undeniably the most outspoken political leader against Maduro was Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. Ten EU countries have yet to announce their position.

USA leader Donald Trump will be responsible for a bloodbath that would mirror the war in Vietnam if he gets militarily involved in Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has warned, describing the potential conflict as a "David against Goliath" scenario. As the European Union made clear in its statement of 26 January and in Bucharest on 31 January, the window for dialogue remains open.

Maduro and Guaido have been battling for legitimacy in a struggle that has drawn in the world's major powers on one side or the other.

"The United States wants to return to the 20th century of military coups, subordinate puppet governments and the looting of resources", he said, adding Trump would leave the White House "stained with blood" if there is a military intervention.

Maduro said Monday he has written to Pope Francis asking for help in fostering dialogue. "A lot of those problems are a result of precisely of the economic sanctions levied against Venezuela and the fact that we've seen oil prices crash globally", he said.

Guaido lost no time Monday in building on broadened worldwide support, with his fledgling alternative administration announcing February 14 talks in Washington on responding to "the largest hemispheric humanitarian crisis in modern history". It aims to address the crisis in Venezuela and is due to hold its first meeting in Uruguay on Thursday.

At the news conference closing today's meeting in Ottawa of the Lima Group of nations, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the idea that opposition to Maduro is part of a coup plot organized by western democracies "could not be further from the truth". Guaido is an opposition leader who's the head of Venezuela's legislature.

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