Europe Divided Over Venezuelan Crisis: Italy and Greece Hold the Line Against Brussels’ Insanity
The Venezuelan crisis has divided Europe once again. Some nations refused to interfere in the internal affairs of other states.
Asya Yemelyanova with the details of Greece's and Italy's positions and Valentin Bogdanov with the latest news from Venezuela.
There haven't been any comments or official statements, just references to anonymous sources, but it seems that Italy has succeeded in vetoing a joint statement by the EU to recognize Guaido. It's clear why the Italians are being so modest. Against near unanimity, 27 out of 28 votes, their «no» looks like a heroic deed, like a challenge to Brussels and the States. The Italian «no» at the informal meeting in Bucharest can be called the official position of the state. The League and Five Star Movement are in power: Even though Prime Minister Conte tries to make his statements sound neutral, Deputy Prime Minister Di Maio spoke for him in the parliament.
“We don't want to go so far as to be compelled to recognize a person who hasn't been elected by the people as president. Over the last few years, we were forced by the West to interfere in the affairs of other states.”
This, of course, doesn't mean that Italy supports Maduro. Rome didn't recognize the results of the 2018 elections and ignored the inauguration of the president. But so far, it's not going to support Guaido, as everyone else does. Italy is likely to officially declare its position. The left wing is already insisting on a parliamentary vote. The lack of a joint EU statement, which was vetoed by Italy, means that each country must now decide for itself whether it recognizes Guaido or not.
Germany tried but immediately got confused. Here's the Foreign Ministry's position.
Rainer Breul, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson: «We believe that Venezuela has no democratically legitimate president.»
And here's Angela Merkel's position, which is far from what the diplomats say.
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany: «Guaido is the legitimate interim president of Venezuela».
France is no different. They might've agreed to share confusing messages on Twitter and on the radio.
Here's Emmanuel Macron's position: «France recognizes Juan Guaido as interim president to launch the election process».
And here's the Foreign Minister. He became perplexed after the third simple question regarding whether Guaido is the president or not.
— Does France recognize Guaido as the interim president?
Jean-Yves Le Drian, Foreign Minister: «We'll contact our European colleagues to rephrase the demand».
Everyone will have to make a decision. Some are already in doubt. According to the Italian media, recognizing Guaido means accepting the fact that a self-proclaimed leader in another country could be recognized as easily, even in a European country.
The Old World's attitude towards the legitimate president of Venezuela was expressed by Jordi Evole, the host of the Spanish channel La Sexta, despite the way he dressed for the interview with Nicolas Maduro. The 21st-century conquistadors don't wear armor. To stress one's superiority it's enough to come to the Miraflores Palace wearing an untucked shirt, jeans, and sneakers, and ask the first question about the ultimatum.
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela: «We won't accept any ultimatum. It's as if I said that I'll give you seven days to recognize the Republic of Catalonia».
But Evole didn't stop at that. He tried to get revenge for Catalonia.
Jordi Evole, journalist: I have Guaido's phone number. If you don't mind, I can call him.
Nicolas Maduro: I'll talk to him if he picks up the phone.
— Let's do that.
— He has too many voicemails.
Perhaps they should've posted on Twitter, which Guaido uses quite frequently. This morning, the usurper's micro-blog was basically exhausted. Guaido decided to separately thank each EU member that recognized him. Each country got its own tweet. Although for some reason, he skipped Estonia.
Twitter is also loved by the person without whom Guaido wouldn't have acquired his current status. But recently, he had to state his position in front of a camera.
Margaret Brennan, CBS host: What would make you use the US military in Venezuela? What's our national security interest there?
Donald Trump, United States President: Well, I don't want to say that, but it's an option.
— Would you personally negotiate with Nicolas Maduro to convince him to leave?
— Well, he requested a meeting and I turned it down because we're too far along in the process. We have a young and energetic gentleman, but we also have other people within the same group who could be useful.
It's still unclear what Trump meant by «other people» but that might be a disturbing signal for Guaido. His decisive rallies decide nothing. By calling for dialogue and proposing to hold early parliamentary elections, Maduro takes the wind out of the sails of the opposition. In addition, the legitimate leader of Venezuela is supported by the army. He meets with the soldiers almost every day. His fiery speeches are immediately broken into quotes.
Nicolas Maduro: «To be or not to be», said the great Shakespeare. To be or not to be is the dilemma of the day. To be a motherland or to be a colony? I'm a working man, just like our Savior Jesus Christ was. I'm deeply religious.”
John Bolton also wants to look merciful. He promises humanitarian help for Venezuela. The shipments will be delivered from neighboring Colombia from the city of Cucuta, which was recently visited by Admiral Faller of the US Southern Command. So far, instead of blankets and rations, the city has only seen armored vehicles. It smells like a provocation that could either be used to start an invasion or to launch a civil war.
Delcy Rodriguez, Vice President of Venezuela: «The people of Venezuela will guard their borders. We're always ready to repel an attack».
Now, better than ever. Nicolas Maduro recently ordered to expand the Armed Forces, integrating the People's Militia, which will have access to military weapons. In total, two million people could be turned into combatants. The first joint exercise is scheduled for February 10th. Life itself dictates the scenario: repelling a foreign invasion.
Valentin Bogdanov, Asya Yemelyanova Ivan Utkin, and Viktor Kazakov Vesti, Italy, the USA.