Many European countries, including France, Germany, Spain, and the U.K., officially recognized Venezuela’s self-declared president Juan Guaido after President Nicolás Maduro dismissed the European Union’s Sunday deadline to call a snap election.
The European Union and Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain had given an ultimatum to Maduro to declare elections by February 3.
The United States was the fist country to recognize the opposition leader as interim president.
More than 20 governments have pledged their support to Guaido.
Earlier in a TV interview , Maduro warned US President Donald Trump that he will counter attack if the US military intervened in the crisis as part of a “dirty” imperialist conspiracy to overthrow his government.
“You are making mistakes that will leave your hands covered in blood and you will leave the presidency stained with blood,” Maduro said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
“Why would you want a repeat of Vietnam?”, he told Spanish journalist Jordi Évole.
The Socialist leader rejected European calls for elections, saying that the next elections will be held only in 2024. “We don’t accept ultimatums from anyone,” he added.
Maduro also warned of the possibility of civil war.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was the first leader to respond to this.
“Nicolas Maduro has not called Presidential elections within 8 day limit we have set. So UK alongside European allies now recognises @jguaido as interim constitutional president until credible elections can be held. Let’s hope this takes us closer to ending humanitarian crisis,” he said in a statement on Twitter Sunday.
Meanwhile, anti-Maduro protests gained intensity in the weekend. Tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of capital Caracas on Saturday to demand the exit of the authoritarian regime.
Guaidó, who is the President of Venezuela’s National Assembly, said on Sunday that he would build an international coalition to deliver humanitarian aid to Venezuelans.