The European Parliament decided this Thursday to maintain the recognition of Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela and asked the Twenty-seven to follow in his footsteps and recognize the "constitutional continuity" of the opposition leader and of the National Assembly constituted in 2015. The resolution contravenes the position adopted by the EU, which at the beginning of the month decided to stop referring to Guaidó as interim president and continue to recognize his leadership but only as a prominent member of the opposition, not of the Assembly, now controlled by Chavismo.
The resolution of the European Parliament went ahead with 391 votes in favor, 119 against and 177 abstentions. The text was supported by the three parties that had agreed to it – the European People's Party, the Renew liberals and the ECR conservatives – and the extreme right of Identity and Democracy. The Social Democratic deputies abstained, while the Greens and the United Left voted against.
The Socialists, according to parliamentary sources, wanted to support the position of the High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell. In the statement after the constitution of the Assembly, the head of European diplomacy regretted the launch of a Chamber that emanated from elections not recognized by the EU. In addition, he claimed to maintain his commitment to civil society, and in particular to Guaidó, whom he considers "the last free expression of Venezuelans in an electoral process."
However, the EU in that statement did not recognize Guaidó as interim president – a position that it had never formally attributed to him as there was no consensus among the partners – or as head of the National Assembly. This means that the European Parliament remains the only EU institution that recognizes Guaidó since it decided to consider him interim president in January 2019. In the resolution, the European Parliament maintains that "until truly free elections are held in Venezuela" it will continue considering the December 2015 assembly, its president Juan Guaidó and its Delegate Commission as “the only legitimate political, democratic and representative body in Venezuela”.
The text calls on the EU countries, in addition, to "recognize the constitutional continuity" of the Assembly. Community sources argued that this possibility is difficult to fit into the order of many countries, also in Latin America, since parliamentary mandates have a time limit.
The European Parliament expresses its solidarity with Venezuela, which is experiencing a “serious humanitarian and political crisis” that has been “exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic”. It also calls for the "immediate unconditional release of the more than 350 political prisoners", calls on Guaidó to ensure "full transparency of his management of funds" and reiterates the "importance of maintaining close cooperation with international allies", in particular with the new Joe Biden Administration.
The groups that supported the text charged against the Socialists. "Unfortunately they have broken the consensus of the great democratic forces of the European Parliament," said Citizens deputy Jordi Cañas. The popular parliamentarian Leopoldo López Gil criticized that "PSOE and Podemos have distanced themselves from the majority position of the European Parliament" and accused them of abandoning "to their fate" those who fight for human rights in Venezuela.