Venezuelan Dictator Nicolás Maduro Appeals to Pope Francis for Support

Venezuelan Dictator Nicolás Maduro Appeals to Pope Francis for Support

"Stop. Stop, Trump! Hold it right there!" You are making mistakes that will leave your hands covered in blood.

Portugal's Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said the group wants to end Venezuela's political stalemate through the ballot box, preventing a civil war or an "illegitimate foreign intervention".

U.S. leader Donald Trump will be responsible for a bloodbath that would mirror the war in Vietnam if he gets militarily involved in Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has warned, describing the potential conflict as a "David against Goliath" scenario.

"The people will never surrender", the embattled Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has declared as he condemned what he called the "cowardly" and "disastrous" move by Britain and other European countries to recognise his opponent Juan Guaidó as interim president.

In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey voiced support for Maduro, while China called for resolving all differences peacefully and warned against foreign interference.

Already recognised by the United States, Canada, Australia and several Latin American countries, Guaido is trying to force the socialist leader from power so he can set up a transitional government and hold new elections.

Maduro accused Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, of having taken "a awful decision" in recognising Guaido.

"Individual EU Member States will acknowledge Mr. Juan Guaido, President of the National Assembly, as President ad interim of Venezuela", the proposed joint statement said, calling for "free, fair and democratic presidential elections".

He said Spain, which has a sizable Venezuelan community, also is working on a humanitarian aid program for Venezuela, where shortages of basic items are acute.

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British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt promptly followed suit, saying on Twitter he hoped "this takes us closer to ending humanitarian crisis". Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Lithuania also lined up behind Guaido, who also has the backing of the United States and many South American nations. Emmanuel Macron then repeated this later on Monday.

The move came after President Nicolas Maduro ignored a demand by seven European Union states that he call snap elections by yesterday in a move to resolve the country's political and economic crisis.

Guaido's backers say he is the legitimate leader because he is president of Venezuela's congress, which they regard as the only lawfully elected power in the country.

Moscow - which among others back the Maduro government - stated that such action clearly amounts to foreign meddling.

Most Lima Group members have said Maduro should quit in favour of Guaido and have called for a new election. Critics have called that election a sham and the mainstream opposition boycotted it.

Maduro then continued his accusations against the Trump administration, which he claims is preparing a coup and that "the military option is on [President] Donald Trump's table".

"It is, definitely, the people of Venezuela who have to decide its future".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $53-million in new Canadian funding to support the needs of Venezuelans, including the three million refugees who have been forced to flee the humanitarian crisis in the country. A senior air force general recognized Guaido as president on February 2. When that expired on Sunday, they announced the diplomatic change.

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