STA, 4 February 2019 - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar announced on Monday he would propose to the government that Slovenia recognise the leader of the Venezuelan opposition, Juan Guaido, as Venezuela's interim president with the intention of Guaido calling an early presidential election. The government is to decide on the proposal on Thursday at the latest.
Cerar made the announcement after a closed-door session of the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee, which was to be briefed on Slovenia's lawsuit against Croatia over the border arbitration situation at the EU's Court of Justice.
Cerar spoke of a dramatic situation in Venezuela, which is experiencing a serious economic, social and humanitarian crisis. Three million people have emigrated in the last five years and human rights are not respected, he told the press.
He said that the recognition of Guaido would be "exclusively for the purpose of ... calling a new, fair, free and democratic election", and added that the final decision remained to be made by the Marjan Šarec-led cabinet.
"It's a fact that Mr. Maduro did not win in such an election. He won in an undemocratic election, meaning unfair, not free and lacking transparency," Cerar said.
Thus Slovenia needs to join the EU in helping in humanitarian efforts as well as, if necessary, step up sanctions against the current power holder.
"Above all, Slovenia needs to react in the right way. This means recognising the power holder that can and wants to call new elections as soon as possible, so that people can be helped, so that the rule of law, democracy and respect for human rights are restored."
He argued this would help restore peace and stability and help make sure that "people will not be without medicine and food, that they will not flee or fear state violence".
Cerar added that while the EU was united in the points listed, it is not the domain of the EU as a whole, "or this has not been the usual practice so far", to recognise power holders in individual countries". "This is now being left to individual countries to decide," he said.
Meanwhile, the press was also addressed by Foreign Policy Committee chair Matjaž Nemec, who said that he in a way identified with Cerar, but that at the same time he saw himself confronted with a number of questions.
"Remembering how democracy was used as a pretence to approach the situation in Ukraine or the Arab Spring ... or the situation in Syria, I fear and warn that this could mean a new hot spot in South America. There are major interests involved," Nemec said.
While agreeing that the current leadership in Venezuela is incapable of governing, Nemec fears what the alternative could bring.
Several European countries recognised Guaido, the parliamentary speaker, as interim president today after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro rejected the ultimatum to call an election by Sunday. Spain, Great Britain, France, Austria and Germany were among the first to do so.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="sl" dir="ltr">.<a href="https://twitter.com/vladaRS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@vladaRS</a> bom predlagal, da <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Slovenija?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Slovenija</a> prizna predsednika Nacionalne skupščine <a href="https://twitter.com/jguaido?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jguaido</a> za začasnega predsednika Venezuele, z namenom izvedbe svobodnih, poštenih in demokratičnih predsedniških volitev. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Venezuela?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Venezuela</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/MZZRS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MZZRS</a> <a href="https://t.co/Q9DdsCMjD0">pic.twitter.com/Q9DdsCMjD0</a></p>— dr. Miro Cerar (@MiroCerar) <a href="https://twitter.com/MiroCerar/status/1092477936177954818?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 4, 2019</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>