Netherlands recognises Guadio as Venezuelan leader after deadline expires

Netherlands recognises Guadio as Venezuelan leader after deadline expires

"We are observing a widespread rejection of the Maduro regime's illegitimate claim to power following fraudulent elections last May", he stated.

Maduro is supporting plans for a meeting of Latin American and European Union states in "Contact Group" talks in Montevideo on Thursday.

"As of yesterday, no presidential election had been called", Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a visit to Tokyo.

"We are very close to reaching freedom and that is the result of the global support we have received and the recognition of this process of respecting the rule of law and of having a non-violent approach in each of our struggles", Guaido said in a video.

The European countries are urging Guaido to hold free and fair elections as soon as possible.

"Let's hope this takes us closer to ending humanitarian crisis".

Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Lithuania admitted they share the same views as their allies.

"We are working for the return of full democracy in Venezuela: human rights, elections and no more political prisoners", Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a televised announcement.

The United States, Canada and several Latin American countries have disavowed Maduro over his disputed re-election past year and recognized self-proclaimed President Juan Guaido as the country's rightful leader.

But in an interview with Spanish television station Sexta broadcast on Sunday evening, Maduro said he would not "cave in to pressure" from those calling for his departure.

U.S. leader Donald Trump will be responsible for a bloodbath that would mirror the war in Vietnam if he gets militarily involved in Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has warned, describing the potential conflict as a "David against Goliath" scenario.

"I'm with the Venezuelan people against regimes like that of Maduro, based on violence, fear and hunger", League leader Matteo Salvini said last month.

However, he supported plans for a meeting of Latin American and European Union states in a "Contact Group" meeting in Montevideo next Thursday.

The Trump administration last week issued crippling sanctions on Venezuelan state-owned oil firm PDVSA, a key source of revenue for the country, which is experiencing medicine shortages and malnutrition.

President Maduro also had choice words for Washington's transatlantic allies, describing Europe's ultimatum to hold new elections as "the stuff of empires, of colonial times".

Over the weekend, he called on the army to allow in humanitarian aid from the United States via neighboring Colombia and Brazil. Spain is one of the main destinations for migrants from Venezuela, many of whom have fled Maduro's rule and the continuing humanitarian crisis.

"I call on the Venezuelan people to sign ... at all the barracks, factories, schools", Maduro said.

Trump, in an interview that aired on Sunday, said military intervention in Venezuela was "an option".

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have turned out in recent protests to demand Maduro's exit, although he appears to have the support of the nation's powerful military and security services.

On Sunday, Maduro addressed troops on military exercises, calling on them for "maximum cohesion".

Pressure is mounting on Maduro to step down just a month after he began his second term as president following disputed and controversial 2018 elections.

After several years of opposition efforts to oust Maduro, Guaido declared himself acting president at a rally on January 23.

Guaido has called for a new demonstration on February 12, and another protest to push for the entry of aid.

The 14-nation Lima Group - made up of Canada and Latin American countries - meets in Ottawa on Monday.

A total of 13 European nations had joined in solidarity with Guaido, recognising him as president.

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