Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Iceland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs has declared that he and the government of Iceland support Venezuela’s Juan Gauidó in his opposition to President Nicolás Maduro’s government, RÚV reports. The country has struggled in recent years as poverty and crime have reached an all-time high while its economy suffers and its system of governance has turned dangerously unstable.
Juan Guaidó is the leader of the disenfranchised Venezuelan legislature who on January 23 declared himself the president of the country, causing uproar amongst Maduro’s supporters.
Maduro, who succeeded president Hugo Chavez following the latter’s death in 2013, has proved a controversial figure, as Venezuela struggles with hyperinflation, food and medical supply shortages and exceedingly high crime and murder rate. Three million Venezuelans have left the country in recent years, according to a United Nations report, with numbers expected to reach 5 million by the end of the year.
“This has been a long time coming,” Guðlaugur Þór says. “We know what the situation in Venezuela is. In a country that is rich in resources, its current state is dire. The rightfully elected National Assembly [led by Juan Gauidó] has been stripped of its power. As things are now, the country is more akin to a dictatorship.”
The European Union and many countries around the world have demanded a new election in Venezuela and American president Donald Trump has threatened military intervention if the country’s situation remains unchanged.
Trump has denied Maduro’s request for direct talks who in turn has warned that Venezuela could turn into another Vietnam for the US, should the country intervene in Venezuela’s affairs.
As of now, Nicolás Maduro still has the support of Venezuela’s military, with Juan Gauidó making a concerted effort recently to turn their allegiance in his favour.