European allies recognise Juah Guiado as Venezuelan president

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido gives the thumps up to supporters, as he attends a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela February 2, 2019.

The United States recognised Guaido, who heads Venezuela's National Assembly, in late January when he declared himself the country's legitimate leader after maintaining that a presidential election previous year was rigged to keep Maduro in power. In South America, the 14-nation Lima Group looked set to hold off imposing further sanctions on the Maduro government when it meets in Ottawa.

Around 1 million people resident in Venezuela also possess a European passport, Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva told a news conference in Lisbon.

In a video statement posted on Twitter, Sanchez recognised Guaido as interim leader and called for new elections "as soon as possible".

A total of 13 European nations had joined in solidarity with Guaido, recognising him as president.

However, despite many members of the European Union coming out in support of Guaido, Italy vetoed a joint declaration, branding it "meddling".

Critics of Maduro blame the Venezuelan government's mismanagement for the lack of food and medical supplies.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have turned out in recent protests to demand Maduro's exit, although he appears to have the support of the nation's powerful military and security services.

"Venezuela has to be the master of its own destiny, and it is up to the global community to help and respect the outcome of the democratic process and verify that it takes place with all necessary guarantees", he said.

Mr. Trudeau also took the opportunity to recognize Mr. Guaido's representative to Canada, Orlando Viera-Blanco.

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"The United Kingdom now recognises Juan Guaido as the constitutional interim President of Venezuela, until credible presidential elections can be held".

However, as President Maduro still controls Venezuelan ports of entry, Mr Guaido has called on forces to allow the entry of the aid to the country.

Guaido said in a newspaper interview published on Monday he would do all he could to secure Rome's backing, but Italy's coalition parties took opposing positions.

Portugal's Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said the group wants to end Venezuela's political stalemate through the ballot box, preventing a civil war or an "illegitimate foreign intervention".

Maduro has rejected a US -backed effort to send emergency food and medicine into Venezuela.

Maduro denies the existence of a humanitarian crisis, calling it a fabrication by Venezuela's enemies to sow instability and justify a military intervention.

Maduro, who has overseen an economic collapse and the exodus of millions of Venezuelans, said in an interview that aired on Spanish television channel Antena 3 on Sunday: "We don't accept ultimatums from anyone", adding: "I refuse to call for elections now - there will be elections in 2024". We did not participate, none of us, at the inauguration of Maduro on January 10.

Venezuela's ambassador to Iraq, Jonathan Velasco, became the latest official to recognize opposition leader Guaido this weekend.

Since then, he has been courting the worldwide community - including Maduro's staunchest supporters, Russian Federation and China - as well as Venezuela's military leaders.

  • Sonia Alvarado