Recently, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has refused multiple European countries’ requests to hold early elections. Specifically, Britain, France, Germany, and Spain have threatened to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as president if an election were not announced by Sunday, February 10th. According to the Washington Post, by noon on Monday, February 4th, 13 European nations had announced their support for Guaido. The 28-states in the EU, though, are still divided on the issue, due to Italy’s opposition. Spain, a prime destination for over 208,000 Venezuelan migrants, has emerged as the most outspoken leader of Maduro. According to the Washington Post, this move by European powers further cuts off Maduro from the globe, considering numerous other nations, including Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, and Israel had also rejected him.
In an interview with CNN Turk, Maduro stood firm, claiming, “nobody can give us an ultimatum.” Despite this, according to Al Jazeera, Maduro did express a willingness to begin talks with U.S President Donald Trump, calling it unlikely but not impossible. In a meeting with the United Nations Security Council, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said that, “Venezuela will not allow anyone to impose on us any decision or order.” Calling on the particular urgency going on in Venezuela, U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called this recent event, “…a time for every other nation to pick a side. No more delays, no more games…” On the 4th, Pompeo took his words a step further by calling on the “Venezuelan military and security forces to support their country’s constitution…” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, in confirmation of British support for Guaido, also alluded to possible sanctions on the state, claiming they, “…are looking at what further steps we can take to ensure peace and democracy in Venezuela including through sanctions.”
It is quite frivolous that Maduro is calling this an ultimatum and denouncing foreign intervention. When another country has taken upon itself to allocate aid and resources to your own people, it is obvious that they should have a say. When a country, such as Spain, takes in almost a quarter of a million people who have fled because of deteriorating conditions, it is obvious that they should have a say. However, despite numerous global leaders emerging to support Guaido, in the EU, the decision on whether to cut off Maduro should not be such a divisive issue. A spade is a spade, and one cannot ignore the numerous travesties that have happened at the hands of his regime. If everyone joins in denouncing Maduro, then countries can succeed in cutting the state off from any assets they hold in other countries, pressuring Maduro into talks that could lead to imminent peace and democracy.
According to the BBC, Maduro was first elected in April of 2013, following the death of his predecessor Hugo Chavez. At the time, he won by a slim margin of 1.6 percentage points. In his time in office, the economy took a turn for the worse, leading many in the country to blame both him and his socialist regime. Since 2014, according to the United Nations, over 3 million people have fled the county. Last May, Maduro was reelected, despite many opposing candidates being unable to run due to imprisonment or fleeing out of fear of being imprisoned. Because of this, however, the opposition has gained traction, claiming the election was neither free nor fair. Citing Articles 233 and 333 of the country’s Constitution, the legislature called that the head of the National Assembly – Guaido – take over as interim president. However, the biggest problem as of right now is hyperinflation, with the annual inflation rate going to 130,000%. By the end of 2018, prices were doubling almost every three weeks, leaving Venezuelans struggling for basic necessities.
With the armed forces still providing overwhelming support to Maduro’s regime, it seems that the people have no one but the international community to turn to in order to bring about radical change in the region. An Economist article said it best when it called the foundations of the regime cracking but not yet collapsing. Despite continuing support from Russia and China, the last few weeks have finally communicated to the rest of the world that the crisis in Venezuela is and should not be denounced as a proxy war between the United States and Russia but rather an issue that warrants international intervention. Now that a consensus seems to be on the horizon, one can be confident that much-needed change for Venezuela is imminent.