Venezuela contact group, including Costa Rica, recognizes Guaido as speaker
A dozen countries working on ways to end Venezuela’s crisis on Thursday gave their backing to opposition leader Juan Guaido as parliamentary speaker, rejecting the claims of a rival.
The International Contact Group on Venezuela said it was deeply concerned by events in the Venezuelan National Assembly this week in which the security forces of President Nicolas Maduro tried interfered in the vote to choose a speaker.
Guaido, whose claim to be acting president is recognized as legitimate by more than 50 countries, was re-elected speaker of the assembly on Sunday while rival lawmaker Luis Parra also claimed the title after a separate vote.
Twelve European and Latin American countries from the contact group issued a statement saying the vote for Parra “cannot be considered legitimate nor democratic”.
“We support Juan Guaido as President of the National Assembly, and reaffirm our commitment to actively support genuine efforts towards a peaceful and democratic resolution of the crisis in Venezuela,” the statement said.
Guaido was re-elected by opposition lawmakers in a session held at a newspaper office after police blocked him from entering the National Assembly, while Parra proclaimed himself speaker after claiming to have been elected with 81 votes in the 167-member chamber.
“These events together with the continuous intimidation and reprisals against the members of the National Assembly, democratically elected by the Venezuelan people, further aggravate the crisis, creating more obstacles to the peaceful return to democracy and the rule of law,” said the statement — signed by all members of the group except Uruguay.
Guaido’s re-election is important for his struggle against far-left leader Maduro, as the National Assembly is the only branch of government in opposition hands.
While Guaido enjoys international support including from Washington, Maduro appears entrenched with the crucial backing of the armed forces, despite presiding over the oil-rich country’s collapse into economic ruin.
The EU has an arms embargo in force against Venezuela as well as individual sanctions on various members of the regime over human rights abuses.
The statement was signed by Bolivia, Britain, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Panama, Portugal, Spain and Sweden — a diplomatic vehicle set up to help mediate a political solution to the Venezuelan crisis.
You may be interested
‘Extremely active’ Atlantic hurricane season is nearing its endThe Tico Times - November 25, 2020
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, which produced 13 hurricanes and a record-setting 30 named storms, is approaching its conclusion. The…
News briefs: Costa Rica news highlights to start your WednesdayAlejandro Zúñiga - November 25, 2020
Happy Wednesday from The Tico Times! Here's the news you should know as a new day starts in Costa Rica.…
Decarbonization will bring significant economic benefits to Costa Rica, study saysAFP and The Tico Times - November 24, 2020
Costa Rica's decarbonization plan, which seeks to transform the economy through low-emission transport and production systems, will provide the country…