14ymedio / EFE, Madrid, 4 February 2019 — The Spanish government has announced that it officially recognizes the president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, as acting president of Venezuela, as explained by the president of Spain in an institutional statement made without taking questions and broadcast live on the major television networks.
Pedro Sánchez explained that the scope of this recognition is clear, “the calling of elections in the shortest time possible: democratic, free and without exclusions.” The decision was made after the passing of the eight-day deadline given to Nicolás Maduro to hold elections without him having taken the requested steps. “Venezuela must be the owner of its own destiny,” he said.
Sánchez explained in his brief appearance of about seven minutes that Spain believes in defending multilateralism to solve conflicts and that is why it has led the common position of the European Union. Likewise, the Spanish Prime Minister added that the next step he will take will be to promote within the EU and the United Nations the delivery of humanitarian aid. “The Venezuelan people themselves are suffering the consequences,” he said.
I recognize @jguaido as acting president of Venezuela, with a clear scope: the call for free, democratic presidential elections, with guarantees and without exclusions. I will not take a step back. For freedom, democracy and harmony in #Venezuela
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) February 4, 2019
Pedro Sanchez addressed the “many colonies of Spaniards” residing in Venezuela and the companies based in the country and stressed that he knows that they share with Venezuelans the desire to have a full democracy “which means that there are no political prisoners and that there are elections, free, transparent and with all the guarantees.”
“Venezuela is a beloved brother country and can count on Spain. We are and we will be by its side”, he said in closing.
The statement came minutes after France also recognized Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela.
“We consider today that the president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, whose legitimacy is perfectly recognized, is authorized to call presidential elections,” said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, in an interview with the public broadcaster France Inter.
“It seems clear to everyone, including the Europeans, that we must get out of this crisis with an election that is completely legitimate” for the head of state, since Venezuela is a country with a presidential government, argued the head of French diplomacy.
He explained that there will be consultations today between France and its European partners to form a contact group with those who wish “to accompany the transition, not to be neutral.”
To the question of whether recognizing Guaidó as president is interference, Le Drian denied it, since Guaidó asked for help. In addition, he argued that “it is an attempt on our part to resolve the Venezuelan crisis calmly and avoid confrontations and violence,” as well as the intervention of the military.
He stressed that Venezuela is a “dead” country in which “there are many refugees, there is oppression, there is horrible inflation, the people are on the street, they want change and we believe that we must avoid” the risk of “civil war and confrontations.”
He also noted that the election of Maduro in May of last year “was very questionable,” unlike that of the National Assembly, which resulted in Guaidó’s mandate.
Shortly thereafter, the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, made the decision public through Twitter.
Venezuelans have the right to express themselves freely and democratically. France recognizes @jguaido as “acting president” to implement an electoral process. We support the contact group, created with the EU, in this period of transition. https://t.co/7cgpdgz7TN
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) February 4, 2019
United Kingdom, Austria, Sweden, Latvia and Denmark were other countries that today joined in the decision of Spain and France.
The British Foreign Minister, Jeremy Hunt, revealed the decision on Twitter, after confirming that the current president, Nicolás Maduro, “has not called elections within eight days as we established.”
Hunt wished that the recognition of Guaidó will bring closer “to putting an end to the humanitarian crisis.”
Translated by Wilfredo Díaz Echevarria
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