France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom joined a dozen other E.U. powers in backing Guaidó, blaming Nicolás Maduro for failing to call new elections.
UNITED NATIONS – Sixteen European nations formally recognized opposition lawmaker Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate leader on Monday, lending Guaidó another diplomatic boost as he attempts to force President Nicolás Maduro out of office and pave the way for new elections.
France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom joined a dozen other E.U. powers in backing Guaidó, who already enjoys the recognition of the U.S., Canada and 14 other countries across Latin America and the Caribbean.
E.U. leaders originally hoped to release a joint statement recognizing Guaidó on behalf of all 28 of the bloc’s member states, but that move was vetoed by Italy, leaving countries to make the decision on their own.
As those recognitions trickled in Monday morning, several countries cited Maduro’s failure to call for new presidential elections as the reason for their decision. Late last month, several of Europe’s top diplomatic powers said they’d give Maduro until Sunday to present a timeline to prepare a fair and inclusive election.
In a weekend interview with Spanish news program LaSexta, Maduro chafed at the notion of adhering to outside demands:
“We don’t accept ultimatums from anyone. It’s like if I told the European Union, ‘I give you seven days to recognize the Republic of Catalonia, and if you don’t we are going to take measures.’ International politics can’t be based on ultimatums. That was the era of empires and colonies.”
Back in the United States, as President Trump prepares a State of the Union Address likely to make reference to his administration’s pressure campaign against Venezuela, that strategy attracted one high-profile Democratic detractor: presidential candidate and Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard:
“I wholeheartedly support the Venezuelan people as they fight for a free and fair democracy. But the United States should not be in the business of intervening, of picking who should lead their country.”
Gabbard went on to warn U.S. threats of regime change in Venezuela could derail delicate upcoming nuclear talks with North Korea.