US President Donald Trump has stepped up his pressure on Venezuela, following the failed referendum, brokered by the Washington-backed Venezuelan opposition.
In a White House statement, issued on Monday it was said the US president noted the Venezuelan people went to the polls in order to prove how deeply they care about democracy, freedom and the rule of law. However, their strong determination and courage are still being ignored by a bad leader who is dreaming of becoming a dictator.”
The statement added that the United States will not stand idly and watch Venezuela collapsing, while also threatening that it will resort to strong economic measures, should an official vote for the new assembly, scheduled for July 30th, take place.
The White House concluded its statement by urging Venezuelan government to allow for the “fair and free” elections. The nonmeddling US State Department has already sent Venezuela’s opposition $60m in cash to keep protesting.
Trump’s rant comes right after the failure of a Sunday’s referendum, forced by the Venezuelan opposition.
Although the turnout of the referendum (whose only purpose was to degrade Venezuelan government and reduce president’s powers), was relatively high, results were nonetheless favorable for Maduro.
However, in legal terms, even a successful outcome would not provide for anything more than for the slight “moral boost” for the opposition, as referendum itself was only an unofficial one as it was not approved by Venezuelan Electoral Authority, a thing otherwise required by Venezuelan law.
The opposition has since announced that it will form a parallel government of national unity, while also calling for a general strike on next Thursday.
On Sunday, Venezuelans went to the polling stations in order to cast their votes in an unofficial referendum, whose only intent was to put pressure on Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and members of his cabinet.
Maduro himself called the referendum “meaningless and illegal”, although he later called on his citizens to attend the referendum in a peaceful manner.
On May 18th, Venezuela rejected US attempts to put its crisis under the auspices of the UN Security Council, a thing which was also demanded by the US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
Meanwhile, Moscow has expressed its willingness to participate in normalizing situation in Venezuela.
A day after the US called to discuss the Venezuelan situation in front of the UN Security Council, Russian and Venezuelan presidents held a telephone conversation on the situation in the country.
Venezuelan defense minister Vladimir Padrino López has since accused the opposition of trying to transform Venezuela into Syria with US assistance.