French President Emmanuel Macron has praised the “courage” of Venezuelan protesters marching for their liberty and declared that the May 2018 election of Venezuela’s leader Nicolas Maduro was “illegitimate”
Macron fell short of recognizing Juan Guaido, the self-declared “acting president”…maybe because he is aware of the hypocrisy in supporting Venezuelan protests with those talking place in his own back yard
He added his own voice to the European Union’s declared support for the restoration of democracy, in a tweet saying: “After the illegal election of Nicolas Maduro in 2018, Europe supports the restoration of democracy. I salute the courage of the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans marching for their freedom”
Après l’élection illégitime de Nicolás Maduro en mai 2018, l’Europe soutient la restauration de la démocratie. Je salue le courage des centaines de milliers de Vénézuéliens qui marchent pour leur liberté.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) January 24, 2019
RT reports: The French leader went beyond the official statement from the EU, which has called for “an immediate political process leading to free and credible elections, in conformity with the constitutional order” although President Maduro’s second term officially runs to 2024.
The messages came as months of anti-government protests flared into violence over the past week, with National Assembly leader Guaido publicly proclaiming himself the new interim leader of the country during a rally in central Caracas on Wednesday.
Macron might be backing himself into a corner with his desire to exert influence on the situation in Venezuela and elevate his status on the international arena against a backdrop of a quite precarious situation at home, Chris Reynolds, an Associate Professor in Contemporary French and European Studies at the Nottingham Trent University, believes.
“We can see a direct contradiction here between the domestic situation and Macron’s [statement] on this emerging situation in Venezuela,” Reynolds told RT, adding that the president’s response to the domestic Yellow Vests protests was “quite strong.”
Après l’élection illégitime d’Emmanuel #Macron en mai 2017, le Peuple français soutient la restauration de la démocratie. Je salue le courage des centaines de milliers de Français qui marchent pour leur liberté. #GiletsJaunes pic.twitter.com/FKHWWaDXix
— Patrice Gravoin nº 35072 (@PGravoin) January 24, 2019
France has been gripped by massive weekly protests since November. United under the umbrella movement known as the Yellow Vests, the demonstrators, who first turned to the streets to protest fuel price hikes, are now expressing their discontent over Macron’s broader reform agenda.
On en parle de ton élection et du courage de centaines de milliers de Gilets Jaunes qui marchent pour la liberté et la démocratie ? https://t.co/c1w6hwBuu8
— Raphaël 🌻💚 (@RaphGreen) January 24, 2019
Protests have often been marred by violence and were met with heavy police response as well as condemned by the president.
With his sudden support for the Venezuelan street protests, Macron “opens himself up to criticism,” the professor said. “Those people, who would seek to criticize Macron will see a contradiction between his ambiguous support for the Venezuelan street protests [and his reaction to domestic protests] and therefore will have material to criticize him.”
The fact that Macron stopped short of backing Guiado directly, and opted for a more vague statement instead, shows that he is well aware of this contradiction. “Macron finds himself in a situation, in which he cannot overtly express support to the Venezuelan opposition political leader, who has been brought to the fore on the back of the street protests,” Reynolds said.
Yet, he might still be forced to openly support Guiado by Washington, which apparently sees the Venezuelan opposition leader as a key to achieving its own goals in the Latin American country, Reynolds stressed. The latest developments in Venezuela “do appear” to be a “coordinated effort on behalf of [US President Donald] Trump and the opposition leader… and it is not something that just came out of nowhere,” Reynolds added. He also said that support for the opposition leader will be building and “that the EU could come under pressure from the US.”
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