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The head of the Venezuelan Parliament in Europe for talks

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – FEDERICO PARRA – | Julio Borges, President of the Venezuelan Parliament and President Nicolas Maduro, made a statement to the media on 29 August 2017 in Caracas

Julio Borges, President of the Venezuelan Parliament and opponent of President Nicolas Maduro, is in Europe for meetings with four heads of state and government, his services announced on Sunday.

A press release published in Caracas states that Mr. Borges will meet successively the French president and the heads of the Spanish, German and British governments to discuss the crisis in Venezuela.

“Mr. Borges’ first meeting will be Monday with French President Emmanuel Macron, and on Tuesday he will travel to Madrid to meet with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy,” the statement said.

On Wednesday, Mr Borges will be received in Berlin by Chancellor Angela Merkel, and “finally he will go to London where he will have an important private meeting with the Prime Minister” Theresa May, according to the document.

– ‘Peaceful Solution’ –

The text does not specify when Mr. Borges left Venezuela to go to Europe and in what country he is now.

Julio Borges, who heads the only Venezuelan institution controlled by the opposition, intends to expose to European leaders that he must meet “the need to open humanitarian aid to Venezuela and the urgency of peaceful solution to the social and institutional crisis “in the country, the statement said.

Venezuela is experiencing a serious economic, political and institutional crisis. Socialist President Nicolas Maduro, very unpopular according to the polls, has been confronted for four months with demonstrations in favor of his resignation during which at least 125 people were killed.

Mr. Borges had already announced Saturday on his Twitter account that he would meet “in the next few days” in Europe MM. Macron and Rajoy and Mrs Merkel and Mrs May, but without giving any more details.

Shortly afterwards, activist Lilian Tintori, wife of the historic opponent Leopoldo Lopez, announced that the authorities in Caracas had confiscated her passport to prevent her from leaving Venezuela and to accompany Mr Borges to Europe.

“I am forbidden to leave the country. The dictatorship is trying to prevent us from making a major international tour,” Tintori told Twitter.

Paris, Madrid and London then protested against the ban on leaving the territory inflicted on Mrs Tintori.

The Venezuelan political crisis was further deepened by Maduro’s election of a Constituent Assembly controlled by the government, endowed with almost unlimited powers, and in particular arrogating to himself the prerogatives of the Parliament.

The European countries included in the tour of Mr. Borges criticized the establishment of the Venezuelan Constituent Assembly, as did ten countries in Latin America, the United States and the European Union.

Mr. Macron recently called President Maduro’s power “dictatorship”.

– ‘Disrespectful Interference’ –

On Saturday, support for opponent Lilian Tintori by MM. Macron and Rajoy, who protested that she was prevented from traveling, had aroused a virulent reply from Caracas.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza accused Macron of applying the “extreme right-wing scenario against Venezuela” and condemned an “interference” by Mr. Rajoy.

On Sunday, Chile and Great Britain suffered the disapproval of Caracas.

Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz questioned Ms. Tintori’s action. “The situation in Venezuela is going from bad to worse,” he said.

“We reject another disrespectful interference of the Chilean minister in the Venezuelan affairs,” Arreaza said.

He also appealed to Britain, which had also regretted Saturday the measure against Ms. Tintori and had called on all parties in Venezuela to negotiate to “put the country on the path of respect for human rights “.

“We are concerned that the British government is openly interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela,” Arreaza said.

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