The EU drops its recognition of Venezuela’s US-backed ‘interim president’, but one European country isn’t budging

Juan Guaidó and a flag of the European Union
Support us and go ad-free

The ongoing coup attempt against the democratically-elected government of Venezuela has been on a protracted downward spiral. It’s plunging into ever more desperate and pathetic depths. Coup leaders never seized the reins of the state apparatus, nor did they succeed in getting large swathes of the military to defect to their side.

Now the European Union (EU) is no longer even recognizing the US-appointed ‘interim president’ Juan Guaidó as the country’s legitimate head of government. This surely signals a pitiful new low point for his hard-right faction’s credibility, as well as their hopes of gaining power.

But despite this, there’s one European country – a recently departed former EU member – that continues to recognize Guaidó. No prizes for guessing which it is.

End of National Assembly tenure

On 7 January, Reuters reported that the EU “can no longer legally recognise Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate head of state”. This is because the self-appointed leader no longer holds his position as head of the National Assembly. As The Canary has previously reported, the hardline Venezuelan opposition faction to which Guaidó belongs boycotted the National Assembly election. So, since he didn’t participate in the election, he no longer even holds a seat in the legislative body, let alone its speakership.

It was this position that formed the central basis of his dubious constitutional claim to the presidency. Essentially, there are provisions in the Venezuelan constitution relating to the presidential line of succession. Two have to do with the president vacating or becoming incapable of performing his or her duties. Of course, neither of these applied since president Nicolás Maduro didn’t vacate his office, nor did he become unable to perform presidential functions.

A tried and trusted three card trick

The third relates to democratic norms. Essentially, it means that if the country experiences a breakdown in democracy, then the speaker of the National Assembly becomes the president. But this is also highly dubious, given that the claims of fraudulence in both the 2018 presidential election and this latest National Assembly election form part of a long-established three card trick from the US and its internal proxies. What happens is that the US calls on the opposition to boycott the poll. This results in a landslide for the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and allied parties. And this is then, in turn, presented as ‘proof’ that the election was somehow illegitimate.

Moreover, now that Guaidó doesn’t have a seat in the National Assembly, he can’t even maintain this third claim to being the rightful president based on constitutional succession. Of course, we now know that his reverence for the sanctity of the Venezuelan constitution was an empty farce from the beginning. Because he’s continuing his coup attempt – and the US continues to back him – despite him no longer belonging to the National Assembly. Though the EU was foolish to begin with by believing he was acting constitutionally, it at least has the decency to follow Guaido’s own logic (however flawed it might be) to its natural conclusion.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
A notable European outlier…

In spite of this reversal, however, there’s one Western European country that continues to recognize Guaidó. With Boris Johnson’s government having finally ‘succeeded’ in taking the country out of the EU, the UK is supposedly now ‘free’ to set a more ‘independent’ foreign policy. And naturally enough, the UK has chosen to use this newfound ‘independence’ to continue to support the US coup attempt by backing Guaidó.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab tweeted:

A sorry little outpost of US empire

This forms part of a wider irony that The Canary has alluded to in earlier articles. Namely that as much as Brexit supporters might have characterized the UK as a colony ruled from Brussels (due to EU membership), since long before the emergence of the Brexit movement the UK has, in fact, resembled far more a colony ruled from Washington.

This latest move, therefore, is an alarming early sign that Brexit will even further enmesh the UK as a proxy of US imperialism. The EU, on the other hand, for all its faults, does appear to at least be providing some counterbalance. It’s inserting a modicum of rationality into an otherwise bizarre world – one in which the twisted logic of the US’s own regime change efforts only lasts as long as it is useful.

Featured image via Wikipedia Commons – Alexcocopro and Wikipedia Commons – Håkan Dahlström

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us