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Compare and contrast: Labour and Russia respond to Venezuela’s crisis

Venezuela is a country in crisis. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets calling for socialist leader Nicolas Maduro to go. Britain, the United States, Canada and seven south American countries agree, saying that Juan Guaidó should take his place as interim leader. But not everyone agrees that Maduro – who has brought his country to its knees – must go.

Labour frontbenchers – including Diane Abbott, who said in 2012 that Venezuela ‘shows another way is possible’ – have been noticeably quiet on the subject of Venezuela today. So, too, has the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn, who back in 2013 praised the legacy of the country’s former leader Hugo Chavez. Instead, Corbyn preferred to spend today making a visit to Milton Keynes (whose inhabitants he once publicly condemned). But finally in the last few hours, a Labour spokesman has broken the party’s silence on the subject of Venezuela:

“We oppose outside interference in Venezuela, whether from the US or anywhere else: the future of Venezuela is a matter for Venezuelans. There needs to be a peaceful dialogue and a negotiated settlement to overcome the crisis in Venezuela.”

Mr S couldn’t help but think the condemnation of ‘outside interference’ sounded familiar. So who else agrees with Labour? Step forward, Russia, whose foreign ministry issued a statement earlier today saying:

“Only Venezuelans have the right to determine their future. Destructive outside interference, especially in the current extremely tense situation, is unacceptable.”

Still, at least Britain won’t be alone on the world stage if Jeremy Corbyn does make it to Downing Street…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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