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Government questioned as political standoff escalates in Venezuela

28 January 2019 (updated on 28 January 2019)

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Last week, Juan Guaidó, the Opposition leader of Venezuela's National Assembly declared himself interrim President. Guaidó claims President Nicolás Maduro, whose second term was confirmed in an election marked by boycotting and claims of vote-rigging, is an usurper. Mike Gapes MP asked the UK Government to respond as international powers disagree on the legitimacy of this action.

The international response to this unusual move has been divided, with powers including China, Mexico and Russia rallying behind President Maduro, and other powers, most prominently President Trump of the USA, recognising Mr Guaidó, which has led to escalating threatening rhetoric and a breakdown in diplomatic relations.

The UK has joined other European nations in calling for an election to settle the issue, saying that is President Maduro does not comply they will recognise Mr Guaidó. President Maduro has dismissed this demand as "complete insolence".

In his opening statement in the Chamber, the Minister of State, Sir Alan Duncan, said,

"Last week hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets to protest against Nicolás Maduro's continued Presidency, after deeply flawed elections last May. [... These] represent what can only be interpreted as a cry for change from a country that has been rendered destitute by Maduro and his cronies "

He said the UK would stand "shoulder-to-shoulder" with the US, EU and other allies to ensure the "tyranny" of Maduro's regime would not continue, and create a brighter future for Venezuela. He said that the Government thought Guaidó and his National Assembly were best placed to deliver this.

Mike Gapes drew attention to the crisis conditions bringing hardship on the people of Venezuela, and blamed the President for the circumstances,

"The economic collapse, as the Minister said, is the direct result of the corrupt, incompetent, kleptocratic regime of Nicolás Maduro". 

Image: Joka Madruga via Flickr

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