HAVANA TIMES – The European Parliament on Thursday condemned Venezuela’s moves to seize control of the opposition-dominated National Assembly, accusing President Nicolas Maduro’s government of attempting a “coup” to that end, reported dpa news.
The European Parliament, which has no formal say on foreign policy issues but can use political clout, issued the statement one day after security forces and pro-government armed groups were reported to have prevented opposition lawmakers from entering parliament.
The opposition said a vehicle carrying its legislators was fired at, after being attacked with sticks and stones.
Security forces had already blocked opposition lawmakers from entering congress on January 5, when pro-government legislators elected Luis Parra speaker of the National Assembly.
Opposition lawmakers met elsewhere and re-elected opposition leader Juan Guaido, who had already presided over the assembly for a year.
The two votes led to a standoff between the two men claiming the presidency of parliament.
Guaido has been trying to oust Maduro from power since January 23, 2019, when he declared himself the country’s interim president.
The European Parliament said it reaffirmed its support for Guaido “as the legitimate President of the National Assembly and interim President of Venezuela.”
Lawmakers called on EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to adopt new sanctions on Venezuela – a possibility Borrell has already mentioned – and requested a fact-finding mission to be sent to the South American country.
Neighboring Colombia has also condemned Wednesday’s “acts of violence,” accusing the government of trying to “intimidate and silence” the National Assembly.
Maduro won a second term in a severely questioned election process in 2018. He has presided over an economic meltdown that has sent millions of Venezuelans fleeing abroad.