Guaido thanks Spain’s PM for recognition as Venezuela’s interim president


The head of Venezuela’s Parliament, Juan Guaido, who on Jan. 23 proclaimed himself interim president, on Monday sent his “profound thanks” to Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and to the “Spanish people” for recognizing him.

“My profound thanks to the Spanish people, my profound thanks to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez for the clarity he has shown ... I think that the recognition for my interim presidency and the mandate I have is crystal clear,” said Guaido from Parliament, which has an overwhelming opposition majority.

Earlier on Monday, Guaido had thanked Sanchez for recognizing him as interim president, which he said translates into the “support and commitment” of the Spanish government for Venezuela’s democracy.

Sanchez announced during an official government event that he was formally recognizing Guaido as Venezuela’s interim leader and that he will promote within the European Union a plan to funnel humanitarian aid to the South American nation, which is mired in a dire economic, social and political crisis.

This recognition, which had been expected and comes in addition to similar acknowledgements from about 20 European countries, has as its clear aim the calling of “free, democratic elections (in Venezuela) with guarantees and without exclusions” within the minimum possible time.

“Venezuela has to be the keeper of its own destiny,” Sanchez said.

In that regard, Guaido said that “to be able to achieve a free election, the usurpation must cease,” referring to the tenure in office of elected President Nicolas Maduro after winning last May’s presidential vote in which key opposition leaders were not allowed to participate. Because of the lack of opposition participation, the elections have been dubbed “fraudulent” by many governments and international institutions.

“There is a legitimate president and a dictator usurping power,” Guaido said, alluding to Maduro.

Guaido hiked political tension in Venezuela by assuming the duties of president almost two weeks ago, a move that Maduro, who has governed since 2013, has categorically rejected.

In addition, the interim leader has issued a call to 46 nations to freeze Venezuela’s assets in their territories and has named ambassadors to 10 countries in the Western Hemisphere and to the Lima Group, which is sharply critical of Maduro.

Guaido bases his actions on Articles 233, 333 and 350 of the Venezuelan Constitution, an argument that has been supported by a significant portion of the international community, although not by Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, Cuba or several other leftist Western Hemisphere countries.