President No Longer: EU, Lima Group, Canada Stop Referring To Juan Guaido As Venezuela’s Leader

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President No Longer: EU, Lima Group, Canada Stop Referring To Juan Guaido As Venezuela's Leader

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On January 6th, the EU, the Lima group of Latin American countries, and Canada “implicitly” gave up support of US-Proclaimed Venezuelan President Juan Guaido.

The EU, apparently, views Guaido and the opposition-led “outgoing” National Assembly as just one of the political actors in Venezuela, based on a statement issued by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

Still, the EU said it doesn’t recognize the elections as valid, but it clearly also doesn’t recognize Guaido as an elected official or leader of the country.

“The European Union considers that the elections failed to comply with the international standards for a credible process and to mobilise the Venezuelan people to participate. The lack of political pluralism and the way the elections were planned and executed, including the disqualification of opposition leaders, do not allow the EU to recognise this electoral process as credible, inclusive or transparent, nor do they allow its outcome to be considered as representative of the democratic will of the Venezuelan people. The EU deeply regrets that the National Assembly assumed its mandate on 5 January on the basis of these non-democratic elections.”

In the statement it is said that a solution is needed and that all political and civil actors should take part in it, “including in particular Juan Guaidó and other representatives of the outgoing National Assembly elected in 2015, which was the last free expression of Venezuelans in an electoral process.”

The statement effectively rejects the Guaido-led assembly’s inauguration of a one-year extension of its five-year term, starting on January 5th, that would run parallel to the pro-government assembly elected under the allegedly disputed conditions on December 6th, 2020.

In a separate statement signed by Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru and nominally by Venezuela represented by Guaido’s opposition, the Lima Group similarly said it would not recognize the new pro-government National Assembly either.

Rather the group said it “recognizes the existence of a Delegated Commission headed by its legitimate board of directors, established by the National Assembly, presided by Juan Guaido.”

No mention of Guaido being the country’s president, or with any special, additional authority.

Anticipating the downgrading of international recognition, Guaido and his top associates are now referring to themselves as the “Board of Directors” of a “recently constituted Delegated Commission” of the “legitimate National Assembly”.

Guaidó’s office said the Lima Group “continued to keep their support for President Guaidó” and pointed to its support for the delegate commission.

But what other choice have they got?

The EU had never formally recognised Mr Guaidó as interim president because of objections from Italy and Cyprus, but had treated him as such de facto, a position supported by a majority of member states.

The US is continuing to recognise Guaido as Venezuela’s president, though it remains unclear whether the incoming Biden administration will continue with this particular Trump-era policy when it takes office later in January.

“President Guaidó and the National Assembly are the only democratic representatives of the Venezuelan people as recognised by the international community”, Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, said in a statement.

Guaido is also being accused of corruption, and funneling approximately $40 million.

According to a report, published by the Washington Post, the U.S.-backed opposition needed money to implement its plan to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro’s government from abroad.

Miami-based Venezuelan businessmen Jorge Reyes and Pedro Antar offered a plan to get that money by seeking Venezuelan assets in Latin America.

The assets included companies’ shares, cars, houses, and other properties owned by the Oil Company of Venezuela (PDVSA).

The corruption scandal also involves an Argentinean lawyer identified as Sebastian Vidal, Javier Troconis who was appointed as Venezuelan assets management commissioner, and Jose Hernandez, Guaido’s attorney general.

The U.S.-based outlet had access to reports on contracts signed by the Guaido’s delegates during the process of identifying and recovering the assets.

“Troconis signed with a South Florida law firm to recover a U.K.-based account that contained nearly US$1.7 billion owned by Venezuela’s Food Ministry,” the Washington Post revealed.

Another contract disclosed that Guaido condoned half of the US$269 million debt that Paraguay agrees to owe PDVSA. Although both agreements were made under Guaido’s consent, he denies any involvement in this scandal.

“Those acts evidence the irregular management of Venezuelan assets abroad, a situation allowed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration,” the report adds.

Meanwhile, following the election and the swearing in of the new National Assembly, which is on President Nicolas Maduro’s side, Jorge Rodriguez, the former Information Minister was sworn in as National Assembly President.

“Rodriguez is the son of a martyr of the Revolution. He lived in the flesh the far-right-wing atrocities during the Fourth Republic,” lawmaker Diosdado Cabello said when presenting his party’s proposal for the AN Board of Directors.

The Parliament’s Board will also be formed by lawmaker Iris Varela, as vice president, and Didalco Bolivar, as second vice president.

“As of today, we will aim to legislate for Venezuelans. There is no democracy if the rules and the will of the people are not respected,” Rodriguez said.

Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on January 6th announced that Moscow will cooperate closely with the new National Assembly of Venezuela.

“We confirm our readiness to cooperate closely with Venezuela, its people, and legitimate authorities. We will keep on strengthening our strategic partnership which has been developing in a variety of fields of mutual interest,” she said.

Zakharova highlighted that the new National Assembly’s leaders have announced that they will begin a “broad dialogue process between all the country’s political forces, including those that are not represented in Parliament.”

Despite this good disposition, attempts to destabilize Venezuela continue to be promoted by “radical forces” whose actions prove to be “a gesture of despair.”

“Those who try to plunge the country into chaos through terrorist attacks and bloodshed obstruct the solutions through dialogue to the crisis. They are betting on a deepening split in the Venezuelan society. We are convinced that this path has no future,” Zakharova stressed.

The US-backed opposition and its President Juan Guaido had all but entirely run out of steam over the entirety of 2020, and now with what’s going on in the United States and the incoming President Joe Biden, any hope of “regime change” is currently on hold, if not dead and buried.

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