US Balkan Allies Recognise New Venezuela President

With Venezuela convulsed by crisis, Trump's hawks take dramatic turn

The decision to confront Maduro directly was only possible because of strong support from the Trump administration, which led a chorus of mostly conservative Latin American governments that immediately recognized Guaido.

In that case, "we would consider adopting other measures including recognising (Guaido) as interim president", Josep Borrell told reporters in Madrid just as an European Union foreign affairs meeting was taking place "at Spain's request".

In mid-December, Guaido quietly traveled to Washington, Colombia and Brazil to brief officials on the opposition's strategy of mass demonstrations to coincide with Maduro's expected swearing-in for a second term on January 10 in the face of widespread global condemnation, according to exiled former Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, an ally.

Iran, Syria, Cuba and Turkey have also said they continue to support Maduro's government.

Jeremy Hunt lashed the regime and backed Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president after winning elections to the National Assembly.

Pompeo urged all members of the Organization of American States to recognise Guaido.

And in a thinly veiled swipe at Mr Corbyn, he added: 'But for anyone in the United Kingdom who thinks that Venezuela is an example, who thinks that we should be adopting the policies supported by the discredited Maduro regime, they need to look at their TV screens and think again.

Guaido's interim presidency has been supported by around a dozen countries, mostly Latin American ones, and the United States, Canada and France as well.

His remarks were followed by a protest as Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of peace group Code Pink who frequently disrupts official events, held up a banner that said, "Don't support the coup in Venezuela".

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro can not be the legitimate leader because the elections that had returned him to office were not fair, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

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Maduro was elected past year in a vote widely seen as fraudulent.

Many Venezuelans are awaiting Guaido's guidance on the often-beleaguered opposition's next steps. He said the armed forces will never accept a leader forced on their country.

"[Simón ] Bolívar used to curse against soldiers who give their back to the people", he said in reference to Venezuela's independence hero.

"We appreciate the support of the world", she said.

In an address Thursday, Maduro recalled the long history of heavy-handed USA interventions in Latin America during the Cold War as he asked his allies for support.

In a video addressing the military earlier this week, Guaido said the constitution required them to disavow Maduro after his re-election in May 2018, because his main opponents were banned from running.

Private military contractors who do secret missions for Russian Federation have flown into Venezuela in the past few days to beef up security for Maduro, who has been in power since 2013, sources said.

But there were no signs that security forces were widely heeding Guaido's call to go easy on demonstrators.

Guaido, a virtually unknown lawmaker at the start of the year, has reignited the hopes of Venezuela's often beleaguered opposition by taking a rebellious tack amid Venezuela's crushing economic crisis.

"They did not arrive in a big crowd", he said.

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