At UN, Pompeo asks countries to 'pick a side' on Venezuela

Minnie Murray
January 27, 2019

Pompeo and President Donald Trump have been intransigent in the face of Maduro's fury.

Canada, the United States and 10 other countries in the Lima Group have already recognized Guaido, who declared himself interim president of the troubled South American country on Wednesday.

Maduro cruised to re-election in May past year amid low turnout and allegations of vote-buying by the government.

Several countries, including France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada, have added to the pressure on Maduro to step aside by saying they are prepared to recognize Guaido as interim president.

"Now is the time for every other national to pick a side", Pompeo said.

Nebenzia also said the UNSC meeting, held on the US' request, was nothing more than an "unethical ploy" to involve the global institution in a regime-change campaign.

"If in eight days there are not free, transparent and democratic elections, Spain will recognize Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela", Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said.

Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for U.S. National Security Council, encouraged others to follow Silva's lead "to protect constitutional order, not to sustain dictators and repress its own people". "Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem", Pompeo said.

Israeli officials told Channel 13 news that State Department officials made the request to diplomats at the embassy in Washington DC on Thursday, and that other USA allies who have yet to declare their support to either side have also been asked to issue statements of support for Guaido. The National Assembly has argued for vacating the presidency and filling the position on an interim basis with the head of the legislative body.

The United Nation's political chief says there are differing views on what the future should hold for Venezuela but the goal is "a political solution that will allow the country's citizens to enjoy peace, prosperity and all their human rights".

The leaders of two of those council nations - France and Britain - joined Spain and Germany to turn up the pressure on Maduro Saturday, saying they would follow the US and others in recognizing Guaido unless Venezuela calls new presidential elections within eight days.

While small rebellions against Maduro have broken out in Venezuela's armed forces in recent months, there has been no large scale military uprising against him.

He accused the United States of renewing a long history of imperialism in Latin America, saying that Washington treated it as a "backyard where you can do anything you want".

Maduro was sworn in earlier this month amid protests after allegations of rigging the vote.

The European Union also moved closer Saturday to recognizing Guaido as the country's ruler, Bloomberg reported.

"Elliott will be a true asset to our mission to help the Venezuelan people fully restore democracy and prosperity to their country", Mr Pompeo said, according to Reuters.

Maduro has given USA diplomats until late Saturday to leave Venezuela.

Instead, the two countries will seek an agreement to replace the embassies with "Interest Offices" in their respective capitals within 30 days, the statement said.

The Maduro government has previously rejected such aid, denying there is a humanitarian crisis in the country and blaming economic problems on sanctions.

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