Venezuela crisis: Italy is ‘LOSING FACE’ by not standing by Guaido says Salvini

Friday, February 8, 2019
By Paul Martin

ITALY’S interior minister Matteo Salvini said Rome is “losing face” by not openly backing Juan Gauido’s self-declared interim leadership in Venezuela.

Fri, Feb 8, 2019

Italy’s populist Government is deeply divided over the Venezuela crisis. Mr Salvini, leader of anti-immigration party Lega and member of the Government coalition, immediately pledged his support to Mr Guaido after he proclaimed himself interim president of Venezuela on January 23. But the other half of the Italian Cabinet, Luigi Di Maio, put his foot down and said Italy won’t side either with Mr Guaido or against him.

This disagreement sparked tensions within the Government, and pushed Mr Salvini to speak out against Mr Di Maio, leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S).

The interior minister told TV news show Quarta Parete: “On Venezuela Italy has lost its face.

“I understand there are different opinions within the Government, some of our allies think we should be more cautious, but the Venezuelan Constitution itself says that, at the end of the mandate of red dictator Maduro, the power goes to the president of the National Assembly, Guaido.”

Mr Salvini’s outburst comes as Mr Di Maio wrote an open letter to Venezuela to explain why Italy will remain neutral over the ongoing crisis in Caracas.

Writing on Italian daily Avvenire, he said: “We are well aware Venezuela is going through a difficult moment, a historical period which is difficult and painful.

“It is my conviction the Italian Government should avoid meddling in foreign politics but only become available to help Venezuela reaching the point to be able to hold free elections.

“Venezuelans must decide their own future, in a pacific and democratic way.”

Mr Di Maio has been accused on Wednesday by Paris of meddling into French politics by openly supporting the Yellow Vest movement, a group he said is very similar to the M5S.

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