Venezuelan Dictator Nicolás Maduro Appeals to Pope Francis for Support

Venezuelan Dictator Nicolás Maduro Appeals to Pope Francis for Support

Venezuelan Dictator Nicolás Maduro Appeals to Pope Francis for Support

Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Austria and Denmark all announced they recognize Guaido as the country's president, which came after embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro rejected calls for new elections.

The Lima Group is a bloc of regional countries that recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president.

Maduro, for his part, stood defiant, accusing the United States of preparing a coup in the South American country and rejecting a USA -backed effort to send emergency food and medicine into his country. Trump said on Sunday, February 3, that the USA army's intervention in Venezuela was "an option". "Faced with President Maduro's refusal to organize presidential elections which would clarify, calm the situation in Venezuela. we consider that Mr. Guaido has the capacity and legitimacy to organize these elections".

Guaido's backers say he is the legitimate leader because he is president of Venezuela's congress, which they regard as the only lawfully elected power in the country.

Earlier, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged Can$53 million ($40 million US) in humanitarian aid for Venezuelans amid the deepening crisis.

"We are faced with arbitrary rule, without respect for the guarantees laid down in the Constitution or the highest principles of the dignity of the people", they said.

In Washington, US President Donald Trump warned that military intervention remains "an option" for dealing with the crisis in Venezuela.

The 35-year-old lawmaker, who is the head of the South American country's National Assembly, declared himself Venezuela's interim head of state last month, directly challenging Maduro's claim to the presidency. A senior air force general recognized Guaido as president on February 2.

Maduro was especially harsh on fellow socialist and Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, saying he would have "blood on his hands" if Maduro is toppled. But there were no signs the armed forces were turning against Maduro.

Maduro said Monday he has written to Pope Francis asking for help in fostering dialogue.

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The Vatican didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Maduro's appeal.

But its statement was more measured than that of CUPE, focusing on calling for the government to "promote dialogue to foster a peaceful solution to the Venezuelan crisis". Norway, not an European Union member, said it also was not recognising him.

Spain, Britain and France were among 16 European Union nations to side with Guaido on Monday, following in the footsteps of key regional powers and the United States which has refused to rule out a military intervention in the crisis-wracked country. It aims to address the crisis in Venezuela and is due to hold its first meeting in Uruguay on Thursday.

Portugal's Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said the group wants to end Venezuela's political stalemate through the ballot box, preventing a civil war or an "illegitimate foreign intervention".

The group has not yet determined which border point it will cross, said the person, who asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak publicly about the issue.

"The moment is now", Guaido said in a speech on Monday in Caracas, urging the military to allow humanitarian aid to reach people. "Their support for us has been fundamental", he said.

Venezuelans are "very close to reclaiming their freedom", he said.

Guaido is expected to announce a date for the arrival of humanitarian aid from the USA - a path Maduro believes will lead to a US-led military intervention.

Venezuela has suffered an economic meltdown marked by hyperinflation and shortages of basic necessities that the opposition blames on the Maduro government.

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