Simon Coveney, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has announced that Ireland is recognising Juan Guido as the ‘legitimate President’ of Venezuela.
It is a disgraceful move, dictated by the big powers within the EU. These in turn are following Trump, who was the first to recognise Guido.
The mainstream media promote this as a move to respect democracy. But it is nothing of the sort.
Juan Guido is a minor figure from the far-right Popular Will party. He has a long record of stirring up violence in street protests which has led to scores of deaths. He won just 26% of the vote in the least populous state in Venezuela.
By contrast, Maduro won a Presidential election, scoring 69% of the vote with a 46% turnout. Two opposition politicians, Henri Falcon and Javier Bertucci, also contested the election, which was deemed fair by a number of observers. Afterwards, however, the opposition complained the election was unfair because some of their leaders had been arrested.
But if this is the excuse for not recognising Maduro, why did the Irish government say nothing when the most popular politician in Brazil, Lula, was locked up to prevent him standing in a similar election?
The EU move against Maduro is grossly hypocritical.
Soon after France’s Macron backed Guido, he went on a three day visit to the Egyptian dictator.
Spain endorsed Guido – while locking up democratically elected politicians from Catalonia.
None of them took any action when Saudi Arabia murdered the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.
The US has a long history of staging coups in Latin America – and this is only the latest episode.
There are legitimate criticisms to be made of the Maduro government- from the left. He has allowed private capitalists keep control over the importation of food; he has tried to sell off natural resources to multi-nationals. He has not backed peasants who want to divide out the land. In brief, he has gone back on the process that Chavez started.
This is all occurring in the context of US sanctions and a collapse in oil prices.
But none of this is an excuse for Trump or the EU to meddle in the lives of the Venezuelan people.