‘Corbyn is defending a dictator’: Widower of murdered MP Jo Cox slams Labour leader for opposing sanctions on Venezuela despite country beset by chaos and violence under Maduro
- The widower of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox has lashed out at Jeremy Corbyn
- Brendan Cox Tweeted at Corbyn, ‘it sounds like you are defending a dictator’
- The Labour leader had said that calls for sanctions on Venezuela were wrong
- President Nicolas Maudro’s socialist tyranny has left the country in ruins
Jeremy Corbyn has been slammed for ‘defending a dictator’ by the widower of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox over his failure to back sanctions on Venezuela’s tyrannical president.
Brendan Cox, a former chief strategist at Save the Children, lashed out after Corbyn attacked ‘outside interference’ in the socialist South American country.
Mr Cox attacked President Nicolas Maduro, who has driven his country into economic collapse and continues to defy calls to hold elections.
Writing on Twitter on Saturday, Mr Cox said: ‘The future of Venezuela has been taken out of the hands of Venezuelans by an increasingly corrupt and totalitarian state.
Brendan Cox, widower of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, questioned Jeremy Corbyn’s views on Venezuela
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro attends a military exercise in in Caracas, Venezuela February 1,
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘The future of Venezuela is a matter for Venezuelans’
‘By all means call for dialogue but if you don’t strongly condemn the subjugation of democracy it sounds like you are defending a dictator.’
Mr Corbyn on Friday criticised Jeremy Hunt, saying the Foreign Secretary was ‘wrong’ to demand sanctions against the Maduro regime.
Mr Hunt spoke on Wednesday to Juan Guaido, the president of the National Assembly of Venezuela, who is trying to oust socialist leader Mr Maduro.
The European Union on Thursday recognised Mr Guaido as interim president in place of Mr Maduro, with Mr Hunt calling for sanctions against the latter. The United States has also recognised his leadership.
But in a Friday tweet, Mr Corbyn said: ‘The future of Venezuela is a matter for Venezuelans. Jeremy Hunt’s call for more sanctions on Venezuela is wrong.
‘We oppose outside interference in Venezuela, whether from the US or anywhere else.
‘There needs to be dialogue and a negotiated settlement to overcome the crisis.’
Other senior Labour frontbenchers have also criticised the pressure being put on Mr Maduro, who is widely seen as a dictator, accusing the US of attempting ‘regime change’.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott and shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon were among a host of left-wing politicians, union leaders and activists who signed a letter to the Observer on Sunday.
It said: ‘Whatever views people hold on Venezuela, there is no justification for backing the US attempt at regime change under way, which, if successful, could go the way of the disastrous interventions in Iraq and Libya.
‘Instead, the way forward is the call for dialogue from the Mexican and Bolivian presidents.’
Mr Cox resigned from Save the Children in September 2015, amid allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women.
His wife Jo, the MP for Batley and Spen in Yorkshire, was assassinated by neo-Nazi killer Thomas Mair in June 2016.
Corbyn criticised Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured in Bucharest on Friday), saying Hunt was ‘wrong’ to demand sanctions against the Maduro regime
President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro (right) meeting with President of Bolivia Evo Morales (left) in Maiquetia, Venezuela on Friday
Tens of thousands of protesters are set to pour onto the streets of Caracas on Saturday to back opposition leader Juan Guaido’s calls for early elections as international pressure increased on President Nicolas Maduro to step down.
Major European countries have set a Sunday deadline for Maduro to call snap presidential elections.
Failing that, they will join the United States in recognizing National Assembly speaker Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.