Maduro refuses Europe's ultimatum to call new elections in Venezuela, and threatens a White House 'stained with blood' if Trump intervenes

venezuela maduro lasexta

laSexta

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro refused to call new elections and threatened to plunge his country into violence in an interview with Spanish channel laSexta on Sunday.

  • Several EU countries demanded that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro call new elections by Sunday amid the country's political chaos.
  • Maduro refused to do so, telling Spanish TV on Sunday: "We don't accept ultimatums from anyone."
  • At the same time, US President Donald Trump - who backs Maduro opponent Juan Guaidó - is considering sending troops into Venezuela.
  • Maduro threatened to plunge Venezuela into civil war if Trump went ahead with this reported plan.

The beleaguered Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro refused to call new elections in response to demands from several European countries.

He also warned that the US presidency would be "stained with blood" if President Donald Trump goes ahead with his reported plans to intervene.Advertisement

EU countries including Austria, Britain, France, Germany, and Spain last week told Maduro to call fresh elections by Sunday or else they would formally recognize Maduro's opponent, Juan Guaidó, as Venezuela's interim president.

Nicolas Maduro venezuela

Miraflores Presidential Palace via AP

Maduro in Caracas in August 2018. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have protested against him over the past month.

Guaidó, the National Assembly president, declared himself the country's interim president last month. Anti-Maduro critics accused Maduro of vote-rigging in last May's presidential elections. They say his current presidency, which started on January 10, is unconstitutional and fraudulent.
Advertisement

Tens of thousands of people have been protesting against Maduro over the past month. Maduro has presided over one of the world's worst economic crises and produced hundreds of thousands of refugees across Venezuela's borders.

Maduro rejected the European countries' call on Sunday - the day of the deadline - and told the Spanish TV channel laSexta: "We don't accept ultimatums from anyone.""It's as if I told the European Union that I give it a few days to recognize the Republic of Catalonia," he added, referring to the Spanish region of Catalonia's failed attempt to break away from Spain in October 2017.Advertisement

Catalonia's regional president, Carles Puigdemont, declared autonomy from Spain after a contested referendum, before Madrid's Constitutional Court canceled the independence bid a month later. Spanish authorities have since arrested and detained some of Puigdemont's allies.

Britain, Denmark, France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden formally recognized Guaidó as Venezuela's interim president on Monday in response to Maduro's refusal to organize new elections, Sky News reported.

Advertisement

venezuela juan guaido

Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Juan Guaidó - Maduro's opponent and self-styled interim president of Venezuela - holds a copy of Venezuelan constitution at a rally in Caracas on January 23. He says Maduro's presidency is unconstitutional and fraudulent.

'Stop, stop, Donald Trump!'

Maduro on Sunday also warned that Trump's presidency would be "stained with blood" if Trump decided to intervene in Venezuela.

Trump, who openly backs Guaidó as interim president, on Sunday said that sending troops to Venezuela was "an option."

Read more: Trump's man to handle Venezuela crisis was convicted in Iran-Contra affair and fought to cover-up worst massacre in recent Latin American historyAdvertisement

Venezuela

Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Demonstrators stand behind a burning barricade during a protest close to a National Guard outpost in Caracas on January 21.

Maduro, in response, threatened the possibility of his country descending into widespread violence.

When laSexta asked whether the political turmoil could end in civil war, Maduro said: "Nobody can answer now with certainty. Everything depends on the level of madness and aggressiveness of the northern empire," referring to the US.Advertisement

He also told laSexta that "thousands of innocent Venezuelans may end up paying with their lives ... if the US empire attacks the country."

"Stop, stop, Donald Trump!" Maudro added. "You are making mistakes that are going to stain your hands with blood, and you are going to leave the presidency stained with blood. Stop!""Or is it that you are going to repeat a Vietnam in Latin America?" he said.Advertisement

Maduro on Sunday also warned Guaidó to "stop this coup-mongering strategy and stop simulating a presidency in which nobody elected him."

Guaidó argued in The New York Times last week that his interim presidency was not a "self-proclamation" because the Venezuelan constitution says there if there is "no elected head of state", he becomes interim president.

He argues that, since Maduro is not legitimate in his eyes, that condition has been fulfilled.Advertisement

Read more: Venezuela's 'interim president' set himself 3 tests to secure power. He just changed the hardest one to something he already has.

venezuela south america support

amCharts/INSIDER

The countries in green recognize Guaidó as Venezuela's interim president as of January 24, 2019. Countries in red are those that support Nicolás Maduro, while Venezuela is in yellow.

The US, EU, Canada, and almost all of Latin America formally recognize Guaidó as interim president.Advertisement

While military leaders around Venezuela declared their loyalty to Maduro two weeks ago, there are signs that some are breaking ranks. One senior air force general, who was not named, recognized Guaidó as interim chief, Reuters reported.

Read more: The odds of a military coup in Venezuela rise every day Maduro stays in office

Russia, China, Turkey, Syria, Bolivia, and Cuba back Maduro, and have accused Guaidó-supporting countries of meddling in Venezuela's domestic politics.Advertisement

Russia on Monday said the EU's coordinated move to recognize Guaidó amounted to foreign meddling, Sky News reported.

{{}}