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External interference only adds fuel to fire in Venezuela: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2019-01-27 19:30
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro smiles while he speaks during a meeting with youths in Caracas, Venezuela, Jan 26, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

Whatever has happened in Venezuela, it is still a sovereign country which has the say over its own fate. No country has the right to dictate to this nation and its people how to settle its own political crisis.

The US administration, which is averse to Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro, only made the situation in Venezuela more complicated when it announced it recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido, after he declared himself president on Wednesday claiming that Maduro's reelection last year was fraudulent.

Following the lead of the US, the European Union on Saturday gave Maduro an ultimatum to call elections within eight days or it too would support Guaido. An ultimatum that was dismissed as "childish" by Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza.

Guaido reportedly met with the government officials on the weekend to convince them of the need for new elections. Although with international support, he has no control of the state, which he is hoping to gain with the promise of amnesty for those who switch allegiance to him.

Meanwhile, Maduro's government has backtracked on an order that gave US embassy personnel 72 hours to leave Venezuela, saying it had opened a 30-day window to negotiate with the Trump administration, defusing tensions between the countries just hours after their top diplomats traded heated rhetoric at a special meeting of the UN Security Council.

Given the increasingly fierce confrontation between Maduro's government and the opposition, it is not just improper but also dangerous for other countries to take sides, as it will only intensify the divisions and may even spark a civil war in the country.

External political or even military interference has the likelihood of plunging the country into chaos. Latin America has plentiful experience of the cost of US-led interference and military "solutions" to crises.

For Venezuelan people, violence or even a civil war as a result of the fierce confrontation between Maduro's government and the opposition should be the last thing they want, as it will only plunge the South American country into turmoil and cause even more suffering.

What has happened in Syria in the Middle East, where a civil war has lasted for years between the Syrian government forces and those opposing it, should serve as a mirror to reflect what would likely happen should the situation in Venezuela spin out of control.

If there is a chance for a political process to develop between Maduro's government and the opposition for a peaceful settlement of the crisis, other countries should do whatever they can to promote that process. Even if they find no way to extend a helping hand, they should respect the sovereignty of Venezuela and take no action to intervene.

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