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    Self-proclaimed Venezuela's interim president Juan Guaido

    Mogherini Says Any Measure Against Guaido's Safety to Meet 'Firm' Intl Reaction

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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (552)

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warned on Saturday that any possible measure that could put at risk Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido’s freedom and safety would lead to a new escalation of crisis around the Latin American country and face a strong international condemnation.

    “The European Union underlines its conviction that the solution to the multidimensional crisis affecting Venezuela can only be a political, democratic and peaceful one. In this respect any measure that could put at risk Juan Guaidó’s freedom, safety or personal integrity would represent a major escalation of tensions and meet the firm condemnation of the international community”, Mogherini said in a statement on behalf of the European Union.

    According to Mogherini, the members of the Venezuelan National Assembly “enjoy constitutionally granted immunity that needs to be fully respected”, so that they could “exercise their parliamentary mandate free of intimidation on them or their family members”.

    READ MORE: Venezuela: Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid

    The statement stressed that the bloc would continue “closely monitoring events in cooperation with the International Contact Group members and its regional and international partners”.

    Venezuela is currently in the midst of a political crisis. On 5 January, Guaido was elected the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, which all other government branches have been refusing to recognize since 2016.

    On 23 January, two days after the Venezuelan Supreme Court annulled his election, Guaido declared himself the country's "interim president". The legitimate president, Nicholas Maduro, who was sworn in for his second presidential term on 10 January after winning the May election, which part of the opposition boycotted, qualified Guaido's move as an attempt to stage a coup orchestrated by Washington.

    READ MORE: Venezuela Fell Victim to US Multilateral Aggression — Vice President

    US-backed Guaido crossed into Colombia in late February in defiance of a Venezuelan Supreme Court order barring him from leaving the country due to an ongoing investigation. After unsuccessful attempts to deliver US-sponsored humanitarian aid  to Venezuela from the neighboring country, Guaido said that he plans to return home. According to the deputy judge of the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice, Juan Carlos Valdez, Guaido may face up to 30 years in jail for breaching foreign travel ban. On Friday, US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams threatened Caracas with a major international reaction in case of Guaido’s arrest.

    While the United States immediately recognized Guaido, the European Union failed to agree on a joint statement on the issue because the motion was vetoed by Italy, according to a diplomatic source. Despite this, however, many European countries have individually voiced their support for the Venezuelan opposition leader.

    Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia and a number of other countries have reaffirmed their support for constitutionally elected Maduro as Venezuela’s only legitimate president. The United Nations also still recognizes the Maduro government.

    READ MORE: EU Should Avoid Any 'Politicization' In Issue of Aid to Venezuela — Envoy

    Political Crisis in Venezuela (552)


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    safety, measures, humanitarian aid, Juan Guaido, Federica Mogherini, EU, Venezuela
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