Venezuelan opposition welcomes Canada's call for military backing

UK recognises Juan Guaido as interim President of Venezuela

Netherlands recognises Guadio as Venezuelan leader after deadline expires

France, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom announced Monday that they were recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president after an eight-day deadline for Maduro to call elections had not been met.

Italy does not recognize the result of Venezuela's presidential election last May, which Maduro won, and wants new elections as soon as possible, Italy's foreign minister told Agence France-Presse on Monday.

"We know that the people of Venezuela are facing tremendous hardship and they need our help, as do the countries that have taken in those fleeing violence", Trudeau said.

"This is a process led by the people of Venezuela in their very courageous quest to return their country themselves to democracy in accordance with their own constitution", she said.

Guaido on Twitter expressed his gratitude to the European Union leaders for supporting Venezuela's fight for freedom.

Two opposition rivals with a good chance of winning were barred from standing, while food handouts and other subsidies to hungry Venezuelans were linked with political support.

Guaido issued the call in a surprise appearance via video link to the gathering of Lima Group members and several other partners, including the United States and European countries. We did not participate, none of us, at the inauguration of Maduro on January 10. Maduro into calling snap elections by the end of Sunday, an appeal he ignored.

The 14-nation so-called Lima Group, which includes Canada and Latin American countries such as Brazil and Mexico but not the United States, met in Ottawa to discuss the way forward on Venezuela.

Spain, Britain and France were among 16 European Union nations to side with Guaido on Monday, following in the footsteps of key regional powers and the United States which has refused to rule out a military intervention in the crisis-wracked country.

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But he stopped short of breaking off diplomatic relations with the 16 European countries that recognized his rival Monday, unlike his swift move to cut off ties with the US after it threw its support behind Guaido last month.

The Government, it said, will "completely revise bilateral relations with those countries from now on".

They backed his argument that, as leader of the national assembly, he should take control because the presidency was left "vacant", due to 56-year-old Mr Maduro's sham re-election. In the past week, the leader has attended numerous exercises and spoken to soldiers, likely because of the major role the military will play in determining his future. You are making mistakes that will leave your hands covered in blood. "A lot of those problems are a result of precisely of the economic sanctions levied against Venezuela and the fact that we've seen oil prices crash globally", he said.

At the same time, the group welcomed into the Lima Group Guaido's "legitimate government of Venezuela" and vowed to "recognize and work with" his representatives in their respective countries.

He added: "No, global politics can't be based on ultimatums".

Already, the Bank of England has reportedly denied a request by Maduro to repatriate US$1.3 billion worth of Venezuelan gold being kept in its vaults.

"They gave us an ultimatum, as if Venezuela was being governed from Madrid", said Maduro, who was addressing troops Monday on the 27th anniversary of the failed military uprising that thrust his political mentor, the late Hugo Chavez, onto the national stage.

"It marks this fight not as a fight of Trump versus Maduro or Latin America versus Maduro but a fight that is of the world against Maduro", said Julio Borges, an exiled opposition politician who has been key in building Guaido's strategy.

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