By Caribbean News Now contributor
BRUSSELS, Belgium — The European Parliament on Thursday recognised Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido as de facto head of state, increasing international pressure on Nicolás Maduro.
EU lawmakers voted 439 in favour to 104 against, with 88 abstentions, at a special session in Brussels in a non-binding vote to recognize National Assembly president Guaido as Venezuela’s interim leader.
The parliament urged the bloc’s 28 governments to follow suit and consider Guaido “the only legitimate interim president” until there were “new free, transparent and credible presidential elections”.
Britain, France, Germany and Spain said on Saturday that they would recognize Guaido unless Maduro called elections within eight days.
Maduro dismissed the demands as an unacceptable ultimatum from the corrupt elite of spent colonial powers.
“The leaders of Europe are sycophants, kneeling behind the policies of Donald Trump,” he said at the weekend.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said governments including Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy would take part in a so-called international contact group, along with Bolivia, Ecuador and other countries to try to bring the Venezuelan opposition and Maduro closer, avoid repression and agree new elections.
“It is not about mediating. It is not about creating forms of dialogue. We have seen processes before that have been indeed used just to buy time,” Mogherini said, adding that the group would be terminated after 90 days if it did not make progress.
“The purpose of the exercise is to accompany the country in a peaceful and democratic manner towards peaceful and democratic and free elections,” she said.
Mogherini also warned that more economic sanctions were an option if dialogue with Maduro failed.