The Latest on Venezuela‘s political crisis (all times local):
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says his government is endorsing Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela and is urging him to call a presidential election as soon as possible.
Sanchez on Monday carried out his threat to recognize Guaido’s leadership if embattled President Nicolas Maduro hadn’t called a presidential election by Sunday.
Other European Union countries followed suit, a week after the European Parliament has called on the EU’s member states to recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.
Spain has strong historical, cultural and economic ties to Venezuela, and its support for Guaido is a diplomatic blow to Maduro.
Sanchez says, “we are working for the return of full democracy in Venezuela: human rights, elections and no more political prisoners.”
He says Spain is also working on a humanitarian aid program for Venezuela.
Britain has joined Sweden, Portugal and France in recognizing Juan Guaido as the interim leader in Venezuela.
U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says in a tweet that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had not called for a new presidential election within the eight-day time limit set.
He tweeted that the “UK alongside European allies now recognises @jguaido as interim constitutional president until credible elections can be held. Let’s hope this takes us closer to ending humanitarian crisis.”
Opposition leader Guaido declared himself Venezuela’s legitimate ruler on Jan. 23, and has the support of Washington and most South American nations.
Spain, France and Sweden have all announced that they are recognizing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s interim president and are urging him to hold a new presidential election.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told reporters in Madrid on Monday that “we are working for the return of full democracy in Venezuela: human rights, elections and no more political prisoners.”
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, speaking Monday to France Inter Radio, urged Guaido to call an early presidential election that will ensure “the Venezuelan crisis ends peacefully.”
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom told Swedish broadcaster SVT the vote that brought Maduro to power was not a “free and fair election.”
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has so far rejected calls by European countries to call an early election.