January 31, 2019 / 8:56 AM / 6 months ago

Venezuela's Guaido asks EU to keep pressure on Maduro

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido takes part in a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government outside a hospital in Caracas, Venezuela January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

LONDON (Reuters) - Venezuela’s self-declared interim president Juan Guaido has asked European Union governments to keep up the pressure on President Nicolas Maduro.

“I said to him, what is your message for myself and the other foreign ministers?” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said.

“He said two things: please keep up the pressure on Maduro who has done so much damage and remember this is about the humanitarian catastrophe that is going on at the moment.”

The United States has recognised Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state and denounced Maduro as a usurper.

Maduro, sworn in on Jan. 10 for a second term after disputed elections last year, accuses Guaido of staging a U.S.-directed coup against him. Maduro is backed by a number of countries, including Russia.

Hunt criticised Britain’s opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for siding with Maduro.

“Simply because they share Maduro’s anti-Western worldview is not a reason to turn a blind eye to someone who has driven his people into poverty where 70 percent of children in some areas are facing malnutrition.”

Corbyn has said he condemns violence in Venezuela and has called for a negotiated settlement.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge

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