Canada ramps up pressure on Venezuela's Maduro
Pilgrims hold a sign that reads in Spanish "Pope, Venezuela prays for you, prays for us" as they watch Pope Francis during a vigil at Campo San Juan Pablo II in Panama City, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
CTVNews.ca Staff, with files from Ottawa News Bureau Correspondent Omar Sachedina
Published Saturday, January 26, 2019 10:00PM EST
Top federal officials, perhaps Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself, will be reaching out to key European allies to encourage them to put more pressure on Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, CTV News has learned.
The news comes as Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Belgium threatened to recognize Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the nation’s interim president if elections aren’t called within eight days.
Canada, the United States and 10 other countries in the Lima Group have already recognized Guaido, who declared himself interim president of the troubled South American country on Wednesday.
Canada played a key role in organizing that declaration. On Saturday, Trudeau spoke with Colombian Ivan Duque Marquez about the situation.
Canada’s representative to the UN, Marc-Andree Blanchard, told a special meeting of the UN Security Council that Canada has “firmly rejected Nicolas Maduro’s illegitimate claim to power,” citing “fraudulent” elections last year.
Russia, meanwhile, accused Canada and the U.S. of encouraging a coup.
For the estimated three million people who have fled Venezuela’s economic and political crisis in recent years, the growing support for Guaido gives them hope that they will one day be able to return home.
William Mesa is a medical student who was forced to leave Venezuela for Colombia four years ago.
“Many Venezuelans were eating on the streets from the garbage,” he told CTV’s Omar Sachedina in Bogota.
In addition to his studies, Mesa also volunteers at a clothing donation facility that helps Venezuelan newcomers, just as he was helped when he fled from neighbouring country.
“Finally, we are going to recover our country and many Venezuelans are going to go back,” he said.
With files from The Canadian Press
He’s 29.— Omar Sachedina (@omarsachedina) January 25, 2019
Their daughter: 20 months.
If he’s lucky, he will sell enough lollipops at this busy #Bogota intersection to make the $6/day he needs to rent a small room.
They are among the 3,000,000 migrants who’ve fled Maduro’s Venezuela. 1/3 have settled in Colombia. pic.twitter.com/cFI12Qr2KN