The US administration, led by Donald Trump, is pressuring the Spanish government and the European Union to break any ties and communications they still have with Nicolás Maduro. Although he has never revealed who he was, José Borrell, Spanish Foreign Minister, admitted that "we have a lot of pressure, I will not say who, but can imagine, so that we vote against the creation of this group," referring to the group of the European Union created to dialogue with Venezuela.
On the afternoon of January 23, days after Maduro announced that he was going to stay in power, the telephone number of the United States Embassy in Madrid rang: "Guaidó is likely to self-proclaim president today and we will recognize him." Mike Pence, the US vice president who met the previous week with Guaidó, only showed his support on the day the call arrived in Madrid, although the US press estimates that the meeting will have served the political leader raise support.
The confirmation of the rise to power was given a few hours later, when Guaidó was sworn in during a demonstration that gathered thousands of people in the streets of Caracas. Less than 15 minutes later, via Twitter, Donald Trump recognized the new president as an officer. The Latin countries of South America followed, except for Mexico.
When news of Maduro's re-election arrived on January 10, José Borrell, Spanish Foreign Minister, was in Washington. This time, on 23 January, Borrell was meeting in Madrid with the Portuguese Foreign Minister, Augusto Santos Silva. The news of Guaidó's self-proclamation caught the two unprepared as they discussed the implementation of an international contact group, which was to be set up in October, but the EU never moved forward.
The original idea for this group was for several European and Latin American countries to act as facilitators to restore the cut off channels of dialogue between the Maduro regime and the opposition. Although the two heads of diplomacy reacted with caution because there were Spanish and Portuguese in Venezuela, they called for the need to safeguard the European Union as a union. Meanwhile, Portuguese Santos Silva has already stated that Portugal recognizes Guaidó as the new president of Venezuela.
Pedro Sánchez, president of the Spanish government, said he would not recognize Guaidó because of pressure from other countries. The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it feared the unpredictable consequences of taking an unprecedented step.
Trump's representative in Madrid, Duke Buchan III, reinforced at a meeting on 24 January with Borrell the importance of Spain and Portugal in the Venezuelan crisis for their ability to drag the rest of the European Union into recognizing Guaidó. The objective of the meeting was simple: that Spain cut off communication with the government of Nicolás Maduro and immediately recognized Juan Guaidó as legitimate president. The next day, Borrell announced before the Council of Ministers that Spain would recognize Guaidó in a "reasonably short time", although it did not specify date.
On the 26th, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Sánchez spoke for the first time publicly about the Venezuelan crisis with Colombian President Ivan Duque of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno and Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, who had already recognized the politician as the new Venezuelan leader.
However, on the last day of January, the Minister for Foreign Affairs announced that Spain will recognize Guaidó next Monday, February 4, and that the European Union gave the green light for the creation of the contact group, although with a limited objective: to provide elections in Venezuela with a term of 90 days. "Time is running against democracy in Venezuela," the American ambassador in Madrid reported in an article in the newspaper El Mundo when Sánchez announced his decision to support Juan Guaidó.