Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom now recognize Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela.
The regime of Nicolás Maduro finds itself under increasing pressure from at home and abroad. A top air force general recently defected and thousands are protesting in the streets against the government.
On January 26, United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt issued an ultimatum for Maduro to call for presidential elections within eight days. On February 4, the deadline passed and Hunt followed through on his threat to recognize Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela.
Hunt issued the following statement:
The United Kingdom now recognises Juan Guaido as the constitutional interim President of Venezuela, until credible presidential elections can be held.
The people of Venezuela have suffered enough. It is time for a new start, with free and fair elections in accordance with international democratic standards.
The oppression of the illegitimate, kleptocratic Maduro regime must end. Those who continue to violate the human rights of ordinary Venezuelans under an illegitimate regime will be called to account. The Venezuelan people deserve a better future.
In a press release, a spokesperson for the German Foreign Office expressed regret that Maduro had not heeded the European Union‘s call to hold new presidential elections. The spokesperson also expressed concern over the humanitarian situation in Venezuela saying,
We remain concerned about the people in Venezuela who are suffering as a result of severe shortages, including in the healthcare sector. Like the EU, we have therefore reiterated our call for international humanitarian assistance to have unhindered access, without success so far. Germany has allocated funding of five million euros for humanitarian assistance in Venezuela which can be provided as soon as the political conditions in the country permit this.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement:
I regret that President Maduro has not accepted the EU’s call to hold free and fair presidential elections. For Germany, Juan Guaidó is the Interim President in accordance with the Venezuelan Constitution in order to organise free, fair and democratic presidential elections.
We remain concerned about the people in Venezuela who are suffering as a result of severe shortages, including in the healthcare sector. Germany will provide funding of five million euros for humanitarian assistance in Venezuela as soon as the political conditions in the country allow this.
The United States State Department praised the decision to recognize
Guaidó. The US was one of the first countries to extend recognition to
Guaidó as the interim head of state of Venezuela.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued the following statement:
We welcome the decision today by Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom to recognize Juan Guaido as the Interim President of Venezuela. We are also heartened by the European Parliament’s January 31 resolution recognizing Juan Guaido as Interim President. They join the United States and more than 23 other countries in recognizing Juan Guaido as Interim President, in accordance with Venezuela’s constitution.
We encourage all countries, including other EU member states, to support the Venezuelan people by recognizing Interim President Guaido and supporting the National Assembly’s efforts to return constitutional democracy to Venezuela. We repeat our call to the Venezuelan military and security forces to support their country’s constitution and protect all Venezuelan citizens, including Interim President Guaido and his family, as well as U.S. and other foreign citizens in Venezuela.
Maduro finds himself under increasing pressure at home and abroad to hold new presidential elections as more and more countries refuse to recognize the legitimacy of his government. However, he has refused to budge on the issue.