Political Observer Explains Why Italy Didn't Back Other EU States on Venezuela

© AP Photo / Fernando Llano / Opposition protesters in Venezuela shut down highways, bridges and other infrastructure as pressure mounts on President Nicolas Maduro to resign in favor of new elections
Opposition protesters in Venezuela shut down highways, bridges and other infrastructure as pressure mounts on President Nicolas Maduro to resign in favor of new elections - Sputnik International
At least 17 EU countries have officially recognised Mr Guaido as interim president of Venezuela. However, Greece and Italy stopped short of recognising Mr Guaido though called for fresh elections in Venezuela. Sputnik has discussed the crisis in Venezuela with Paolo Salom, a political observer with Corriere della Sera.

Sputnik: Why has Rome refused to recognize Guaido as an interim president despite the fact that more than half of the EU nations did recognise him?

Paolo Salom: We must say that this political stance of our government is not as isolated as it could seem. Well, but we have to admit that our government is a new one and is quite a quarrelling one; and as you know, we will soon have elections in Europe and different part of this alliance in Italian is called "giallo-verde", green-yellow, because of the colours of the two main parties mainly in the alliance, the Lega and the Five Star.

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They are quarrelling between one another to get their electors' attention, and probably an old habit of Italians is that everything that the United States does is not well liked here. So they see Venezuela as the latest political coup of the White House. So that's why the government is reacting this way.

Sputnik: Just give us a feel for the general population in Italy then, do the Italian population agree with the government's stance on this?

Paolo Salom: I think that the people who vote for this particular government they share this view. I think that from our point of view this stance is well received by these kinds of voters.

Sputnik: Why is the majority of EU countries backing Guaido? Have you got a take on that from your point of view?

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Paolo Salom: This is more difficult to assess in the sense that there are 27 countries in the European Union and it's always so difficult to get one stance on an international crisis like this one. It's very, very complicated. You know the world is complicated and we know that behind of what's happening in Venezuela you have many situations and powers working on both sides.

I think that the majority of the EU countries are backing this self-proclaimed president because they see the situation of the Venezuelan population; and this is not a mystery, everybody knows that Venezuela, notwithstanding the huge amount of oil they have, the reserves they have, it's a poor country. People are starving and they're fleeing their country. So I think this is sort of a humanitarian backing.

Sputnik: Italy favours new elections in Venezuela, how needed is the new vote given that Maduro has already been re-elected and observers declared the vote transparent and fair. Have you got a point of view?

An opposition member holds a Venezuelan national flag during a protest march against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. - Sputnik International
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Paolo Salom: Yes, the stance of Italy is for new election but we don't want to meddle in domestic politics of Venezuela. And this is a good stance. We're talking about a South American country, I don't want to be offensive to anyone, but we cannot assume that the democracy standards there are comparable to those of other countries; problems have been detected, but even if, let's say, the last presidential elections were fair, which I actually doubt, but let's say that they were, the situation at the moment in Venezuela is tragic.

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So something has to be done. The best solution would be if the Venezuelan people choose what kind of government they want to have. So it's bad to see other countries meddling in their internal affairs, but we have to recognise that the people in Venezuela are in a bad situation and they have to find a way of their own. That would be the best thing to do.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of Paolo Salom and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

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