Although Otto Gebauer, sent to Germany by self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela Juan Guaido as his emissary, was received in Berlin, the German government does not plan to accredit him, as the newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung reports, citing the Foreign Ministry’s response to a request by the left-wing party Die Linke.
According to it, the German government first received Gebauer as "personal representative of Interim President Guaido" on 13 March 2019 to hold talks with him, but “further steps are not planned”. The outlet also reports that, above all, Spain has called on other EU member states not to grant Guaido’s representatives any diplomatic status or corresponding privileges.
Since a political crisis broke out in Venezuela in late January, when parliamentary opposition leader Guaido, backed by the US, declared himself the interim president of Venezuela after disputing President Nicolas Maduro’s re-election last May, Germany recognised him as a transitional head of state. Around 50 states, encouraged by the US, did the same. However, the constitutionally elected head of state Nicolas Maduro, supported by Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia, Turkey and a number of other countries, continues to hold power and refuses to step down, accusing Washington of trying to orchestrate a coup in order to install Guaido as a puppet leader.
This has led to a paradoxical situation in Germany, leaving it with two Venezuelan emissaries in Berlin but not being able to hold official talks with both of them.
Die Linke praised the decision to restrain from recognising Gebauer as ambassador. Lawmaker from the German parliamentary foreign affairs committee Heike Haensel pointed out that “dispatching of new representatives for Venezuela is based on the recognition of self-appointed President Juan Guaido in violation of international law”, according to the conclusion of the Bundestag’s probe.
"This proves the absurdity of Germany's Venezuela policy. Recognising Guaido was manoeuvered outside the bounds of international law and this rows it back again”, she said.
Apart from this diplomatic collision, Otto Gebauer has a debatable profile for a diplomat as he was involved in a 2002 coup attempt against President Hugo Chavez, who passed away several years ago. He was a member of the commando unit that held Chavez prisoner and served six years in prison for it.
The legitimacy of interim president Guiado himself is being challenged now as under Venezuelan law his maximum term is limited to a 30-day period. It expired in February while new elections have not yet been announced.