Venezuela President receive support from the public to deal with “double crisis”

Saturday, 2019-01-26 17:38:00
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Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro greets National Electoral Council President Tibisay Lucena during a ceremony to mark the opening of the judicial year at the Supreme Court of Justice, in Caracas, Venezuela, January 24, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)
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NDO – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is strengthening the efforts to cope with both major internal and external challenges. The difficult economic situation has led to large-scale protests, along with the appearance of a "self-proclaimed president" backed by hostile domestic and foreign forces. Meanwhile, the military and a large number of Venezuelan people show their support to the Government of President Maduro to overcome the "double crisis".

The situation in Venezuela has become even more complicated in recent days. In the capital city of Caracas, the streets are flooded with demonstrations organised by both supporters of the Government and the opposition side. On January 23, Juan Guaido, Chairman of the opposition side controlled National Assembly, declared to take over the country as Venezuela's “interim president", not recognising President Maduro's new term that took office on January 10. He accused Maduro of seizing power through an election that was considered illegal, showing a lack of freedom and transparency. Guaido said he would set up a transitional government and organise a free election.

However, Venezuela’s Supreme Court has declared all acts of the National Assembly null and void. Currently, the legislature with supreme power in Venezuela is the Constitutional National Assembly elected in 2017. Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez also announced that the Venezuelan armed forces do not recognise any "self-declared president", or any move to gain power for "dark benefits". Padrino said that the Venezuelan armed forces will protect the Constitution and national sovereignty.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump called on Venezuelan counterpart N. Maduro to resign, creating conditions for Guaido to come to power. The head of the White House said it would use US diplomatic and economic power to help restore democracy in Venezuela, calling on countries to recognise Venezuela's “interim president” Guaido. A number of US allies and partners in the region, such as Canada, Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia immediately supported Trump's statement to recognise Guaido as Venezuela's "interim president". Secretary General of the Organisation of American States, Luis Almagro issued a statement recognising the president of the National Assembly controlled by the Venezuelan opposition as the head of the interim government in the South American country. The European Union also called on Caracas to conduct a free and reliable election.

Trump's statement on Venezuela's situation marked a tense escalation between Washington and Caracas, contributing to increasing the political crisis in Venezuela. Venezuelan President Maduro announced to cut diplomatic relations with the US, shortly after the Washington administration recognised the opposition leader as Venezuela's "interim president", and at the same time requested that all US personnel, diplomats and consulates leave Venezuela within 72 hours. In response, the US Department of State issued a statement stating that the US does not recognise the administration of President Maduro, so Maduro has no authority to cut ties with the US.

The US actions went against the stance shared by many countries, in that all Venezuelan interventions were in violation of the basic provisions of international law. Cuba, Mexico, Bolivia, Russia and Turkey affirmed their support for President Maduro's legitimate government, and condemned the coup attempt in Venezuela. Uruguay, Spain and Portugal called for dialogues to find a political escape for the situation in Venezuela. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also called on the Venezuelan political factions to refrain from escalating violence and to pursue measures to prevent conflict. The head of the world's largest multilateral organisation stressed that stakeholders need comprehensive and credible political dialogue commitments to resolve the crisis, fully respecting the principles of international law to avoid escalating conflict.

In the context of complicated developments, the government of President Maduro prioritises dialogues to address domestic difficulties, both politically and economically. Venezuela's Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that President Maduro is willing to take part in dialogues to seek solutions to preserve peace and stability for the country and the region. However, Caracas also warns that forces intending to intervene in Venezuela's internal affairs or seeking to impose unconstitutional changes in Venezuela will not be welcome to join the dialogue process.

The majority of Venezuelans expect the Government of President Maduro to continue to be steadfast to bring the country out of both inside and outside challenges. The international community calls for full respect for the principles of law, without interfering with the internal affairs of the countries, as well as respect for national sovereignty and peoples' self-determination, and supporting and promoting peaceful solutions to conflicts.