EU is calling for the country to hold fresh elections while the US has already recognised Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s interim president.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced a national petition drive for peace, saying “I will defend this threatened country with my life.”
Maduro made the remarks to mark National Dignity Day, the anniversary of a failed 1992 coup against late President Hugo Chavez, his predecessor.
The signatures will be taken to the White House “in rejection of intervention,” said the president.
Commenting on his Spanish counterpart’s decision to recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president, Maduro said if a coup were to happen, Pedro Sanchez’s hands “will be covered with blood.”
Maduro trying to move public funds to Uruguay – Guaido
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said the government of President Nicolas Maduro was trying to move up to $1.2 billion from state development bank Bandes to a financial entity in Uruguay, though he did not present evidence.
Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request to comment.
Guaido, in a televised speech, called on the Uruguayan government to not allow the operation, which he denounced as the “theft of public funds.”
‘We are not beggars’ – Maduro on aid
Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro accused the US of preparing a coup in the South American country and rejected a US-backed effort to send emergency food and medicine into his country.
“We are not beggars,” Maduro said on Venezuelan state TV on Monday.
Critics of Maduro blame the Venezuelan government’s mismanagement for the lack of food and medical supplies in the country.
UN will not join any group on talks – Guterres
The United Nations will not join any group of nations seeking to resolve the crisis in Venezuela, the UN chief Antonio Guterres said, rejecting an invitation to attend a meeting in Uruguay this week of neutral countries.
“The UN secretariat has decided not to be part of any of these groups in order to give credibility to our continued offer of good offices to the parties to be able at their request to help find a political solution,” Guterres told reporters.
Maduro government rejects EU’s pro-Guaido move
Venezuela government expressed its “energetic rejection” to some EU states’ decision to recognise Juan Guaido as “interim president”, a statement said.
It said Caracas will revise bilateral relations with these governments. Meanwhile, Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau announced $53 million in aid to Venezuelans.
Italy blocks EU statement on Guaido – sources
Italy blocked a European Union statement saying that the bloc’s member states would recognise Venezuela’s National Assembly head Juan Guaido as interim president, Reuters, citing diplomatic sources said.
Eight EU countries on Monday recognised Guaido, but Italy’s opposition has prevented a unified EU stance.
Maduro writes Pope Francis for support
President Nicolas Maduro said in an Italian TV interview that he has written to Pope Francis asking for help in fostering dialogue.
Maduro said in the interview with Sky TG24 that he hopes the letter is in route or has reached the Vatican.
In the interview conducted at a military base, Maduro describes himself as being “in the service of Christ’s cause and in this spirit” he has asked Francis to “facilitate and reinforce” dialogue with his “best effort, his willingness.”
Maduro added he was hoping for a “positive response.”
EU countries acknowledge Guaido’s interim presidency
The Netherlands joins Germany, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Sweden, Belgium and Denmark in recognising opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela on Monday.
“Nicolas Maduro has not called presidential elections within 8-day limit we have set,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a tweet.
France Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had earlier said that “Guaido has the capacity and the legitimacy to organise an election.”
France’s President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter that the country considers Guaido as the interim president.
In the meantime, Kremlin slammed the European ‘interference’ in Venezuela.
It said that recognising Guaido as interim president amounted to foreign meddling and that Venezuelans, not foreign countries, should resolve their own domestic political issues.
The EU stated it “will acknowledge” Venezuela’s National Assembly head Juan Guaido as interim president, a draft statement said on Monday.
EU states have been sparring for days on how to address the situation of Venezuela.
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