BUCHAREST, Romania – The Latest on the political crisis in Venezuela (all times local):
An international group of parliamentarians is urging Venezuela’s government to stop the “ongoing harassment” of opposition lawmakers and denouncing “intimidation” of 60 parliamentarians — including 40 who have allegedly faced physical attacks.
The Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union, which counts 178 parliaments as members, says it’s also monitoring the impact of a Venezuelan Supreme Court decision “ordering a blanket investigation into possible criminal conduct by members of the National Assembly.”
Rogier Huizenga, secretary of the IPU’s human rights committee, expressed concern the opposition-controlled Assembly is “being ill-treated.”
Opposition leader Juan Guaido has declared himself interim president in Venezuela, a move recognized by several dozen countries, but President Nicolas Maduro is refusing to relinquish power.
Huizenga said Friday that the committee has asked to send a mission to Venezuela, and has seen informal signs that this might be agreed.
Romania’s president has officially recognized Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president almost a week after other European Union countries recognized him.
President Klaus Iohannis said Friday that Romania had decided to join other EU countries and allies in recognizing Guaido partly because Bucharest currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency. Iohannis, in charge of the country’s foreign policy, said Romania needed to have “quick, fundamental and firm reactions” to international developments.
Several EU countries, including Spain, Germany, Britain and France, had given Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government an eight-day deadline to call a new presidential election. The deadline expired Sunday and they recognized Guaido as interim president.
Guaido, who heads the opposition-led National Assembly, declared himself Venezuela’s legitimate ruler on Jan. 23. He has the support of Washington and most South American nations.