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Venezuela kicks out ‘interventionist’ team of European MPs coming to meet with Guaido

3 weeks ago
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A six-member European delegation that sought to meet with self-proclaimed Venezuelan ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido is getting expelled from Venezuela after being accused by Caracas of coming with “conspiratorial purposes.”

The European MPs arrived in Venezuela on Sunday and were supposed to stay in the country until Tuesday to carry out a series of meetings, including with Guaido, the leader of the opposition recognized by a number of European governments as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.

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These plans, however, went awry shortly after their landing, when the MPs got a cold welcome from the Venezuelan authorities that are now deporting them back to Europe, according to delegation member Esteban González Pons.

Pons tweeted that upon arrival, their passports were seized and the deportation procedure was launched. The politician, who hails from Spain’s liberal conservative Peoples’ Party, said that he was part of the “first international delegation invited by president Guaido.”

We are being kicked out today. Tomorrow we will come back to a free Venezuela,” he tweeted, calling their looming expulsion from the country “the final proof that options are over, and the EU shall withdraw from the Contact Group.

The “International Contact Group” comprising the EU as a bloc, eight European and four Latin American countries was set up early February to push for snap elections in Venezuela. In a joint statement with Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez, the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini stated that the group aims to contribute to “a political and peaceful process” allowing Venezuelans to “determine their future.”

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said that the parliamentarians had been warned they would not be let into the country “several days ago” through “official diplomatic channels.”

“The Constitutional Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will not allow the European extreme right to disturb the peace and stability of the country with another of its gross interventionist actions,” Arreaza tweeted.

Pons said that the parliamentarians had been aware that they might be turned down at the border, and had been notified that they would be “either retained or expelled,” but chose to proceed with their journey anyway.

Washington has heavily backed Guaido, handing him control over Venezuelan assets in the US and sending humanitarian aid, which Caracas believes might mask covert preparations for an invasion – drawing on the recent historic example when the current American special envoy to Venezuela used supposed ‘aid’ shipments to send weapons to Nicaraguan rebels.

The US has been doing the bidding for Guaido in Europe. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, US Vice President Mike Pence urged the EU to “step forward for freedom and recognize Juan Guadio as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.”

The European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution to recognize Guaido on January, 31. The document which was adopted by a majority of 439 votes, with 104 MPs voting against and 88 abstentions, called on the EU and its member states to recognize him as the only legitimate head of the government.

Russia, China and Turkey, all are major investors in the Latin American country’s cash-strapped economy, continue to stand by the Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro’s government. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denounced Washington for openly pushing for a military coup in Venezuela, saying the US “has lost all sense of shame” in its handling of the Venezuelan crisis.

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