The European Union has now officially abandoned its Venezuela mythology which deemed Juan Guaido as ‘Acting President’ or ‘Interim President’ rather than the man who actually rules the country, Nicolás Maduro (like it or not). This reaffirms a prior January 7th EU decision.
On Monday the European Union issued a new statement which merely acknowledged Guaido as a “privileged interlocutor” despite having over the prior two years joined Washington in recognizing the opposition leader of parliament as ‘actual winner’ in the disputed re-election of President Nicolas Maduro at the end of 2018.
“The EU repeats its calls for… the freedom and safety of all political opponents, in particular representatives of the opposition parties elected to the National Assembly of 2015, and especially Juan Guaido,” the statement said after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.
“The EU considers them to be important actors and privileged interlocutors,” it added. Conspicuously absent were any references to Guaido as ‘interim president’. Ironically it was only last week that Guaido thanked the European Parliament for maintaining his status as ‘head of state’ in Venezuela.
More than mere symbolism, the issue’s importance lies in that “The status of interim president gives Guaido access to funds confiscated from Maduro by Western governments, as well as affording him access to top officials and supporting his pro-democracy movement domestically and internationally.”
Though it’s as yet uncertain what the Biden White House’s official stance on Guaido will be, or if it will change, last week Biden’s nominee for secretary of state Anthony Blinken gave an early indicator.
The European Union has described Juan Guaido as a “privileged interlocutor” but not interim president of #Venezuela.
This is at odds with the US position, as Joe Biden insists that the US is still behind Guaido
— Samuel Ramani (@SamRamani2) January 25, 2021
Blinken told Senators last Tuesday that Guaido will still remain the recognized leader of the Latin American country in Washington’s eyes. He also said he agrees with the existing US policy of seeking to “increase pressure on the regime” of Maduro.
This of course began under Trump when in January 2019 Guaido dubbed himself ‘Interim President’ and also ‘Acting President’ at the encouragement of Washington during Trump admin attempts to foment a military and popular uprising against Maduro. But Monday’s EU decision is likely to weigh heavy on near-term White House discussions on the issue.