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Backing US-led coup in Venezuela would be a ‘mistake’, says Shadow foreign secretary

Labour MP for Derby North Chris Williamson also hits out at the Tories' ‘double standards’

SHADOW foreign secretary Emily Thornberry warned yesterday that it would be a “mistake” for the government to back a US-led attempt at regime change in Venezuela, ousting President Nicolas Maduro.

She said in the Commons that the economic, humanitarian and political situation for Venezuelans is “totally dire,” but that it would be wrong for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to believe that changing leader would solve the problems, “let alone the kind of US-led intervention being threatened by [US President] Donald Trump and [National Security Adviser] John Bolton,” she said.

Labour MP for Derby North Chris Williamson hit out at “intervention from Western powers.”

He said: “The truth is, millions support the Maduro government and there is huge opposition to it. But intervention from the United States could precipitate a civil war and lead to a humanitarian catastrophe.

“So can the minister explain why the double standards? Is it that he’s wanting to facilitate another humanitarian catastrophe as we’re seeing in Yemen with British arms?

“Does he want to see the same in Venezuela and does he not support self-determination of peoples around the world rather than intervention from Western powers?”

The pair made the comments during an urgent question on the issue following the US’s decision to recognise Juan Guaido, the head of the country’s defunct National Assembly who has unconstitutionally declared himself president.

Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan said that the government is “looking at the legitimacy of the [Venezuelan] government.”

He attacked Labour for a letter to the Guardian signed by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott and other Labour MPs and campaigners.

The letter criticised the far-right governments of the US and Brazil, saying they offer “no hope” to Venezuela and that there there is “no justification for backing the US attempt at regime change under way.”

It called for dialogue from the Mexican and Bolivian presidents.

A rally will be held by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, trade unionists and representatives from Stop the War and CND on Thursday from 6.30pm at teaching union NEU’s London head office against US intervention.

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