Venezuela slams ultimatums for new elections

Addressing an emergency meeting on Venezuela at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Saturday, its foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, above, denounced an eight-day deadline set by some European nations for Caracas to announce new elections.

Germany, UK, France and Spain threatened to recognise Venezuela’s opposition leader and self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido if the country fails to meet the poll deadline.

Arreaza challenged the US and its allies to prove alleged malpractices in last year’s elections that gave Nicolas Maduro a second term and made him Venezuela’s legitimate head of state.

He questioned the logic behind the four European nations issuing ultimatums against a duly elected government. All member nations have to respect international laws, including the UN charter, on the issue.
The Security Council should name and shame the country that initiated the coup attempt in Venezuela which believes in peace and stability and resists efforts from outside to spark a civil war there, the minister said.

He said Guaido’s act of declaring himself as interim president is illegal and unconstitutional and the conduct of some countries extending support to such an individual is highly condemnable.

Addressing the UN council, Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia said it should look into US attempts to engineer a coup in Venezuela.

Vassily Nebenzia said Washington’s “shameless actions” in Venezuela violated all norms of international law.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in his address, blamed Venezuela’s ongoing crisis on Maduro.

Pompeo accused Cuba of worsening the situation in Venezuela.

He called on council members to recognise Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela. The council must make a choice between Maduro and Guaido to resolve the political crisis facing the Latin American nation, he said.

Earlier, Bolivian President Evo Morales sought the convening of the council meeting to discuss the “invasion” by some countries of Venezuela’s internal affairs.

According to UN human rights office, at least 20 people have died in the unrest in Venezuela.