The European Parliament has no legal standing to recognise the sovereign and diplomatic status of governments, Labour MEP Alfred Sant told the European Parliament as he abstained on a resolution - later overwhelmingly approved - calling for the recognition of the Opposition leader in Venezuela as the rightful president.

“Nor should it seek to achieve such a standing, despite the empty and absurd claim that it will have been the first EU institution to take a definitive stand on Venezuela. It is meaningless for this parliament to express definitive judgements on a situation as complex as in that country,” the former prime minister said.

All Western governments on Monday recognised Juan Guaido as interim leader, after President Nicolas Maduro rejected an ultimatum to call early voting after an election last year widely seen to have been rigged. 

Dr Sant said the current Venezuelan regime descends from the first democratic government of Hugo Chavez that introduced social and economic reforms against a no-holds-barred opposition from right wing forces, all out to defend their vested interests.

During the resulting struggle, the Chavez and then Maduro governments committed huge mistakes, became unacceptably authoritarian, delivered for a while on their social promises, but ran the market-based economy into the ground. Allegations of corruption abounded.

“I cannot endorse such an administration. Neither though, can I bless an Opposition that has been over the years, thoroughly intransigent, ready to sabotage the actions of a legitimate government, and now openly trades with President Trump for his help to take over the state,” Dr Sant said.

The resolution passed with 439 votes in favour, 104 against and 88 abstentions.

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.