Europe Has Spoken

Over 20 European countries recognize Guaidó as caretaker President. Humanitarian aid may force the Armed Forces to defy Maduro. The Lima Group ratifies support for the democratic cause and the opposition refuses dialogue initiatives.

Photo: Canadian Press retrieved

After the expiration of the 8-day ultimatum they set for Nicolás to convene free and democratic elections, 19 European countries have recognized Juan Guaidó as caretaker President of Venezuela: Germany, Austria, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Sweden signed a joint statement in support and recognition of National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaidó, emphasizing the goal of convening “free, fair and democratic presidential elections.” Macedonia, Iceland and Ukraine also recognized Guaidó, expanding the bloc of countries that support the democratic cause, gathering a considerable part of the world’s most important economies, which brings very serious consequences for the regime in Venezuela. As the only response, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement cautioning that they’ll review the relations with European countries until they rectify. What they lack in honesty, they make up in arrogance.

Celebrating a coup while denouncing another

February 4, 1992, is chavismo’s foundational date and they’re cynical enough to call it the day of national dignity; a date that sums up an attack against democracy and a defeat, the first of many. Nicolás spent the day among soldiers, saying that he’s in rebellion, thanking the civilian support that none of his videos could show, swearing that he’ll defend the country with his life; in other words, denying reality. His best response to the massive support for Guaidó was repeating the “Repeal the Executive Order Now” campaign (against former U.S. President Barack Obama’s executive order in 2015) and that’s why, starting Wednesday, they’ll begin to collect signatures that, according to Nicolás, will be sent to the White House and to the American people “in rejection of the intervention.” Saying that humanitarian aid is a false promise and a cheap show, and claiming that Venezuela won’t be a country of slaves and beggars (although the minimum wage isn’t quite $6) he suggested that the opposition needs psychiatric help to have dignity. VTV broadcast the alleged anti-imperialist popular assemblies rejecting the “attempted coup d’état,” while they “celebrated the 4F.” Ah! Nicolás sent a letter to Pope Francis, asking him to mediate in the dialogue that only he wants.

Changing February 4

Caretaker President Juan Guaidó thanked the recognition of European nations and expressed his hopes that nations such as Italy may join the democratic cause, this new interpretation of February 4 as a day to honor civility. He restated his request to the National Armed Forces so that they allow the access of humanitarian aid that, as he explained, should serve in this first phase to help 300,000 Venezuelans at the brink of death.

Guaidó criticized Nicolás for refusing to accept humanitarian aid and denounced that some High Command generals are planning on stealing the aid that will enter the country, to distribute it through the CLAP; he rejected the attempt to hold early legislative elections and just like he doesn’t doubt the faith of nations that want dialogue, he believes the regime only wants time. He disregarded the possibility of a civil war (only chavismo is armed) and said that the AN will carry out the appointment of new diplomatic representatives.

Humanitarian aid

Colombian Defense Minister Guillermo Botero announced that the first shipment of humanitarian aid will arrive by the end of this week to Cúcuta. Denying the presence of American soldiers, he explained that the Colombian National Police will be responsible for coordinating the access of this aid. Later, it was revealed that Colombia’s National Unit for Risk Management will be coordinating logistics to receive and transport the aid to Venezuela. Meanwhile, the German government said that they’ll freeze five million euros in assets held by Nicolás’ administration and will re-purpose them for humanitarian aid. Opening the Lima Group meeting in Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision to contribute $53 million in humanitarian aid, explaining that most of the funds will go to neighboring countries. Just like the Catholic Church demanded that the regime allow the access of humanitarian aid, Caritas issued a statement explaining the particularities of this kind of aid, from its reach (to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable) to the products included in it, most of them therapeutic; emphasizing that they’ll participate in the distribution of aid only if the appropriate mechanisms are used.

No dialogue with the regime

“The time for democratic transition is now,” said Justin Trudeau in the Ottawa meeting, asking the international community to join this cause to restore democracy in Venezuela.

In an official statement, the Lima Group restated his recognition and support for Juan Guaidó and hailed all of the countries that have joined the cause. They condemned human rights violations and urged the full restoration of press freedom, asking UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet to speak up. Also, the Lima Group believes that the dialogue initiatives promoted by various actors were manipulated by the regime “turning them into delay tactics to hold on to power”. They also ask the Armed Forces to express their loyalty for the caretaker president, urging them not to block the access and transit of humanitarian aid. Peruvian Foreign Minister Néstor Popolizio said that this group will continue leading the international pressure until “the dictatorial regime is forced to understand that convening democratic elections in the briefest period of time is inevitable.”

Other movements on the board

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that his country wants a stable, democratic and speedy solution for Venezuela. Great Britain is considering options, including sanctions, to achieve peace and democracy in Venezuela, said the spokesman for Primer Minister Theresa May. The UN won’t adopt any of the proposed initiatives to try to solve the crisis in Venezuela, announced Secretary General António Guterres, keeping his offer of mediation. Chief European diplomat Federica Mogherini insisted that the European Authority has no business recognizing Juan Guaidó, and that the choice falls on member states; she restated the common points of the European perspective (not recognizing the election held in May 20, 2018, as legitimate; not attending Nicolás’ self-proclamation and recognizing the AN as legitimate) and confirmed that the international Contact Group on Venezuela will meet in Montevideo (Uruguay) “to try and find a democratic and peaceful solution to the crisis.” Malta’s Foreign Ministry spoke of possible sanctions against Venezuelan authorities that will include freezing assets and travel bans. Ah! Juan Guaidó denounced that the regime plans to move between $1 and $1.2 billion to Uruguay, through an operation of the National Development Bank (Bandes), so he demanded that Montevideo stop that transfer of funds.

Many nations have recognized the serious crises (humanitarian and democratic) that we’re going through; they’ve understood the demands of citizens under the clout of a military high command in service of a government without legitimacy either in origin or in performance. Humanitarian aid is crucial for many Venezuelans who have no way to beat hunger or disease. The dignity Nicolás props up as a barrier to refuse the access of humanitarian aid translates to avoidable deaths.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.