Canada announces $53-million in aid for Venezuela and refugees

France U.K. Recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuela Interim PresidentMore

On Monday, a group of European nations officially recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim president.

"We don't accept ultimatums from anyone", Maduro said in a defiant interview with Spanish television channel La Sexta carried out last week and broadcast on Sunday.

"It is only the Venezuelan people that has to decide their future", Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, said in a statement.

"The United States wants to return to the 20th century of military coups, subordinate puppet governments and the looting of resources", Maduro said.

"We expect to initiate an election process as quickly as possible and for this task he is the legitimate interim president in the view of Germany and many European partners", German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said.

Venezuela's opposition has rejected any offers of dialogue that don't include Maduro's exit as a starting point.

Here is a summary of whom key players are backing, after Guaido declared himself acting president on January 23 in defiance of the leftist Maduro. "Venezuelans have the right to express themselves freely and democratically", he wrote on Twitter.

France and Austria said they would recognize Guaido if Maduro did not respond to the European Union's call for a free and fair presidential election by Sunday night.

"We are looking at what further steps we can take to ensure peace and democracy in Venezuela, including through sanctions".

Guaido is trying to force from power the socialist leader - labelled a dictator by the West and his Latin American neighbors after presiding over Venezuela's economic collapse - aiming to set up a transitional government and hold new presidential elections. We did not participate, none of us, at the inauguration of Maduro on January 10.

Canada and its Latin American allies in the Lima Group, along with the United States, have been pushing for Maduro's departure.




Inside the country, opposition figurehead Juan Guaido, 35, is vying to lure military commanders to switch their allegiance to him away from President Nicolas Maduro, 56.

The statement, which expressed the "most energetic rejection" to the European Union states' decision, added that the Venezuelan government will now revise its bilateral relations with European Union countries who have recognized Guaido as the legitimate interim president. The two men called for the organization of a "free and fair" presidential election in Venezuela and reaffirmed the "illegitimacy" of Maduro's presidency.

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

Our global editor Lindsey Hilsum is in Caracas.

"I call to reject intervention", he said, urging the soldiers to defend the country against "Yankee imperialism". "I tell Pedro Sanchez, God forbid, but if some day a coup takes place, your hands will be tainted with blood", he said.

He began to exercise authority for the first time this weekend, calling on the army to allow in humanitarian aid to a nation wracked by economic crisis.

Spain has strong links to Venezuela historically, culturally and economically, meaning their government's endorsement of Guaido will be a significant blow to Maduro.

Military: Maduro through his allies controls most of Venezuela's main state institutions - most importantly the military.

"The unity of positions in the modern and most influential foreign powers leaves Maduro isolated and weakened, and it strengthens Guaido's leadership internally", said Luis Vicente Leon, a political analyst and director of the Datanalisis polling agency.

"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.

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