The United Kingdom is reportedly trying to form a united front among the European Union’s member states in a push to maximize pressure on Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.
The drive focuses on pressing Maduro to call early elections in a week and blocking off the arteries channeling finances to his government, The Guardian reported on Sunday.
The UK and other heavyweights within the bloc, namely Germany, France, Spain, and Portugal, have already given Maduro eight days to hold the polls.
Venezuela faces a political crisis. Opposition leader Juan Guaido has declared himself the “interim president” of the country, rejecting Maduro’s incumbency, which had been extended earlier after electionsboycotted by the opposition.
Minutes after Guaido’s announcement, the United States said it recognized him as the “legitimate” leader of Venezuela, calling on other countries to follow suit.
Maduro’s government responded by cutting ties with the US.
On Saturday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used a special United Nations Security Council session on Venezuela to call on the rest of the world to either side with the US or face the consequences of not doing so.
“Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side,” he said. “No more delays, no more games. Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem.”
Britain’s campaign followed meetings in Washington between the UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Pompeo.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Washington is preparing a “series of actions” to increase pressure on the Venezuelan government.
The paper said the British strategy concerning Venezuela also comprised laying emphasis on, what it called, “Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s associations with the governments of Maduro and of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez.”
Some in the UK have taken exception to Corbyn’s hosting a Venezuelan diplomat serving Maduro’s government at the Parliament on Wednesday, during a meeting with Latin American and Caribbean diplomatic representatives. They also claim that the Labour leader refused to align his discourse with that of Number 10 in taking aim at Maduro’s administration “for month.”
Some European states have, meanwhile, voiced doubts about falling into line with the US’s outright opposition to Maduro, while Russia has strictly denounced intervention in the country’s internal affairs and has proposed to mediate talks between Caracas and the opposition.
“Some of the doubters support Maduro. Others question a US strategy that could lead to further violence, and even support for a military coup. A joint statement can be vetoed by just one EU country,” The Guardian added.