Canada said on Friday that it supports the “democratic transition” plan presented by the United States for Venezuela, although the Canadian Foreign Minister, François-Philippe Champagne, told Efe that his country continues to support “firmly” Juan Guaidó.
In an interview with Efe, Champagne said that his country supports the United States plan on Venezuela, which proposes that the National Assembly (Parliament) create by law a State Council as a transitional Government, without the presence of President Nicolás Maduro or the Opposition leader Juan Guaidó, for the holding of elections.
“We are good friends of Juan Guaidó. We firmly support Guaidó. We have said from the beginning that we are committed to supporting the return of democracy to Venezuela and that Venezuelans have to lead that return to democracy,” explained the Canadian minister.
“We see the United States’ proposal as a positive signal because it somehow aligns with the objective of the Lima Group, which is to support the return of democracy in Venezuela with free, fair and transparent presidential and parliamentary elections,” he added.
And he added: “As the plan proposed by the United States aligns with this objective, we support it.”
Asked if he believes that the Lima Group will explicitly endorse the US proposal, Champagne indicated that “Canada and other nations will support it because what we want is for the people of Venezuela to live in a democracy.”
Champagne also noted that of the approximately 8,000 Canadians who were stranded abroad as a result of the closure of borders and the cancellation of regular flights due to the COVID-19 crisis, and who have been repatriated by Canadian authorities, more than half they were in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“About half of the people to whom we have facilitated their repatriation were in Latin America. It is by far the most complex operation we have done in history and I want to thank my colleagues from Ecuador, Peru, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras is helping to repatriate Canadian tourists, “he said.
Although part of the Canadian press has criticized the Peruvian authorities in recent days for the difficulties there were in repatriating hundreds of Canadians stranded in the country, Champagne said the cooperation has been intense.
“I have negotiated the landing permits for Air Canada, to get people to get to the airport, the permits for the crew. In the case of Peru, there is only one airport outside Lima operating. It is a very complex operation,” he explained.
“We all face unprecedented challenges and we are all taking steps to protect the safety of our citizens. Many countries have been forced to place restrictions on the movement to slow down transmission. But we have worked with Peru to get Canadians out.” he continued.
Regarding Spain, Champagne declared that “what is happening is very tragic”.
“I had the opportunity to speak a couple of days ago with my friend Arancha González (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain), who is doing a great job. Fortunately the Canadians in Spain were able to return with commercial flights when the Spanish health authorities suggested that tourists return to their countries, “he said.
Finally, Champagne referred to the meeting of foreign ministers of NATO countries that was held on Thursday.
“We are more united than ever. NATO has the capabilities and knowledge that can help in this crisis. And NATO knows that there are countries that are disseminating disinformation, trying to influence a moment of crisis, which is deplorable,” he said.
“It is deplorable that state and non-state actors are trying to take advantage of this health crisis to weaken liberal democracies,” he concluded, not mentioning any specific country.