Caracas, Feb 4 (IANS) Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has refused to accept an ultimatum from European countries calling for free elections, saying that “international politics cannot base itself on ultimatums”.
Last week, the UK, France, Germany and Spain gave Maduro until Sunday to call new elections or they would recognise the country’s self-declared Interim President Juan Guaido as President, reports CNN.
“We don’t accept ultimatums from anyone,” Maduro said in an interview with Spanish private channel LaSexta on Sunday.
“It’s as if I went to the European Union (EU) and said, ‘I give you seven days to recognise the republic of Catalonia or if not, we will take measures’. International politics cannot base itself on ultimatums. That is the epoch of imperialism or colonies.”
Maduro went on to question why the EU should dictate political norms to his country.
“Why does the EU tell a country in the world that already had presidential elections in accordance to its constitution, its laws, its institutions, with the international observers, that they have to repeat their presidential elections? Why? Because their right allies in Venezuela didn’t win?” he asked.
Maduro also refused to accept the humanitarian crisis in his country.
“Venezuela does not have a humanitarian crisis. Venezuela has a political crisis. Venezuela has an economic crisis. We have a huge economic war,” he said.
As Maduro showed no willingness to relinquish power amid defections and calls for his ouster, Guaido outlined an opposition road map on Sunday, reports CNN.
The main points of Guaido’s plan concern humanitarian aid and Venezuela’s assets.
In a series of tweets Sunday, Guaido laid out the three steps to his road map: “Create a coalition of national and international interests to facilitate humanitarian aid to three collection points; demand the military permit aid into the country; ask Europe to protect Venezuela’s assets abroad.”
The self-proclaimed Interim president said on Saturday that humanitarian aid would be sent to collection points in Cucuta, Colombia; Brazil and an unspecified Caribbean island.
The EU — whose Parliament, along with the US and several Latin American countries, has recognised Guaido’s interim leadership — is scheduled to co-host a meeting to “create conditions for a political and peaceful process to emerge”.
The International Contact Group on Venezuela will meet in Montevideo, the Uruguayan capital, on Thursday.
It seeks “free, transparent and credible elections”. The group includes Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the UK and co-host Uruguay.
China, Cuba, Russia and Turkey are among the countries that have voiced support for Maduro.