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A better world is possible if we are prepared to fight for it.

Protesters Demand The Resignation of Haiti’s President Moise

Source:  TeleSUR
February 13 2019

haitian flag 2

Police crackdown leaves at least seven people dead and dozens injured.

Haitians took to the streets Tuesday, for the sixth day in a row, to demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moise, with increasingly violent protests virtually paralyzing the country.

RELATED:  3rd Protester Dead in Haiti Protests

In Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, banks, schools, businesses and fuel stations remained closed, some of which have been looted by angry citizens who joined the riots that began on Feb. 7.

Despite the situation, President Moise has been quiet after the call for dialogue that he made on Feb. 9, which has been widely rejected by citizens and politicians.

On Thursday, the streets of Port-au-Prince were also altered by the burning of tires and other objects, an expression of social discontent in a country whose economic situation worsened this year due to a sharp depreciation of its currency (gourde), an electricity crisis derived from gasoline shortages, and double-digit inflation.

Additionally, the police repression caused the death of at least seven people with several dozens wounded.

6th day of protests in #Haiti. Large demonstrations, burning and looting all across the country.

The people want an end to the Clinton/Obama installed @PHTKhaiti criminal regime.

“We are in the final phase of the Government of the Tet Kale Party,” Jean-Charles Moise, former presidential candidate, said warning that “the whole country is united to get President Moise out of power. We will be on the streets until he leaves … and that day will be very soon.”

In the midst of the pressing crisis, the Haitian government declared ‘economic emergency’ on Feb. 5, an exceptional measure which implies reducing the cost of basic goods to try to alleviate the crisis.

So far, however, President Moise has failed to get the approval of a fiscal budget of US$1.6 billion, rejected last month by the Chamber of Deputies.

Reports say Police chased unarmed protesters into the Embassy where the Protesters hoped to find refuge, Police entered & as usual ‘Shot Unarmed Protesters’, you can see the aftermath. It has been noted that the #UN trained Police seem to take Pleasure in Killing Poor Haitians.

In Haiti, where about eight million people survive on less than US$2 a day, the economy grew just 1.4 percent in 2018. In an attempt to bring down the budget deficit, President Moise  reduced public spending, an option which was not well received by citizens, opposition politicians and social leaders.

According to the economist Camille Chalmers, the executive provisions are a mockery because they continue the policy of austerity measures which were already decreed in 2017.

Since then, the government has not complied with its own provisions because the privileges for the ruling class increased to the point that a senator costs the Haitian state much more than what it costs in other Caribbean countries.

US and Allies Steal $23 billion, offer $60 million in ‘Humanitarian Aid’

Source:  Popular Resistance
February 14 2019

By Bill Hackwell, Resumen-english.org

EDUCATE!

 

us and allies steal billions from venezuela.png

The first trucks carrying the so called humanitarian aid for Venezuela have arrived at the Colombian border city of Cúcuta where a standoff is taking place.

Together the European Union and the United States plan to send $60 million in aid, despite the fact that the Venezuelan government is demanding the return of more than $23 billion dollars frozen in accounts being held in the U.S., Canada and Europe that they consider stolen from their  public treasury; money that could have been spent on the necessary import of food and medicine for the benefit of the entire population.

The sending of “humanitarian aid” to Venezuela by the U.S. is being presented as an emergency and something humane and necessary to the international community, however the Bolivarian government of President Nicolás Maduro, has made it clear that if their concern was genuine they would  unblock the funds that the world’s financial system have damned up.

The self proclaimed U.S. picked, wannabe, “president in charge”, Juan Guaidó and his group in charge of carrying out a coup d’état against the administration of President Maduro would claim the “humanitarian aid”  the U.S. plans to send. Clearly this aid has nothing to do with the suffering of the Venezuelan people and everything to do with turning up the heat of the regime change strategy of Washington to undermine the democratically elected president of the country.

Maduro has also made it clear that Venezuela does not need charity and if the stolen money was returned, “Venezuela will move forward by its own means as it has always done throughout its history”.

In a press conference yesterday Maduro said, “Take all that humanitarian aid and give it to the people of Cúcuta, where there is a lot of need. This is a macabre game, you see? They squeeze us by the neck and then make us beg for crumbs. They offer us toilet paper like Trump threw at the people of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.”

The economic war against Venezuela started a while back but now as the war threats escalate it is really ratcheting down.

In 2017, financial service provider Euroclear blocked nearly $1.65 billion for the purchase of medicines and food for the Venezuelan population.

Similarly, in 2018 nearly $2.5 billion were blocked, while England already in 2019 has retained $1.2 billion (in gold) and the U.S. took another $7 billion in assets from Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

Just last week the Trump administration issued sweeping sanctions against state oil company PDVSA, freezing all profits generated by Venezuela’s refining subsidiary Citgo, and has vowed to starve Maduro’s government of any and all revenue.

There are some glaring historical similarities to the situation now in Venezuela where the U.S. has used economic warfare as a weapon. It is the strategy of slow steady strangulation to bring a country standing in opposition to imperialism to its knees, like Chile in 1973 when the Nixon Administration was destabilizing the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende and he ordered then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, “Let’s make the Chilean economy scream.” Or who, with any conscience, could forget in 1996 after U.S. led economic sanctions had resulted in the deaths of more than 500,000 Iraqi children and Secretary of State Madeline Albright went on 60 minutes and calmly said, “..we think the price was worth it.”

The six decade long unilateral U.S. economic blockade of Cuba is another example, one that is not just historical but current as well, that so far has cost the Cuban people over $130 billion in revenue. They too have been deprived of much needed specialized medicine and food but Cuba has prevailed through determination, principle and the international solidarity that Venezuela now needs.

Russia Warns That US ‘Humanitarian Aid’ Is A Blatant Sham

Source:  TeleSUR
February 14 2019

maria zakharovaRussia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in a news conference
in Moscow, Russia, Jan. 16, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

The delivery of aid, by the United States, would be an excuse to unleash military actions against Venezuela.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned that the United States ‘humanitarian convoy’ is a cover to prepare, from the Colombian town of Cucuta, a provocative act in Venezuela.

RELATED:  Cuba: US Planes Fly to Strategic Areas to Pressure Venezuela

“Let us not be deceived, or deceive others. A provocation, including with casualties, is being prepared under the guise of a humanitarian convoy. And it is needed as a pretext for a forceful action from outside. And everyone should clearly understand this. We consider it urgently necessary to refrain from steps and statements that could provoke an escalation of tension in Venezuela, in particular, any appeals to the Venezuelan armed forces fraught with their involvement in an internal civil confrontation,” Zakharova said.

According to the spokeswoman, the United States has already chosen a “scenario of acute confrontation” in Venezuela, which has as its main objective to try to influence the Venezuelan Army.

Regime change

“The U.S. is weaponizing humanitarian aid in an effort to sell its regime change campaign against Venezuela

Related:  The US Economic War Against Venezuela

“In general, all suggest that the White House has chosen a scenario of acute confrontation with the use of force in Venezuela. I believe that [Washington] even does not try to hide that. All means of information and psychological pressure are being used: from manipulation and provocative media speculations to direct blackmailing and incitement to hatred. The main target is the Bolivarian Republic Armed Forces”, she said, according to Sputnik.

For its part, Russia is ready to join the intermediaries in the dialogue in the Latin American country, but only if this is carried out in a maximally broad format.

“Venezuelan servicemen are openly being incited to a rebellion. High-ranking officials in Washington are calling on the armed forces of a sovereign state to side with new political leadership. What right does the United States have to talk about democracy and legal framework both within a separate state and on the global stage after that?” Zakharova questioned.

U.S. military adventure against Venezuela must be stopped

Source:  Granma
February 14 2019

Cuba condemns the U.S. government’s escalating preparations for a military adventure in Venezuela and calls on the international community to mobilize to prevent its consummation

cuban venezuelan flags.jpg

The Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Cuba condemns the escalation of pressures and actions by the U.S. government in preparation for a military adventure under the guise of a “humanitarian intervention” in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and calls on the international community to mobilize in order to prevent its consummation.
Between February 6 and 10 of 2019, several military transport aircraft have flown to the Rafael Miranda Airport in Puerto Rico, the San Isidro Air Base in the Dominican Republic, and other strategically located Caribbean Islands, most certainly without the knowledge of the governments of those nations. These flights took off from U.S. military facilities where Special Operation Troops and U.S. Marine Corps units operate. These units have been used for covert operations, even against leaders of other countries.
Media and political circles – including within the U.S. – have revealed that extremist figures of the government with a long history of actions and slander aimed at causing or instigating wars, such as John Bolton, U.S. National Security Advisor; and Mauricio Claver-Carone, Director of the National Security Council’s Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs, counting on the connivance of Marco Rubio, Senator of the anti-Cuban mafia in Florida, designed, directly and thoroughly organized, and funded, from their posts in Washington, the attempted coup d’etat in Venezuela by means of the illegal self-proclamation of a President.

U.S. government has intensified its international political and media campaign

They are the same individuals who, either personally or through the State Department, have been exerting brutal pressures on numerous governments to force them to support the arbitrary call for new Presidential elections in Venezuela, while promoting recognition for the usurper who barely won 97,000 votes as a parliamentarian, against the more than 6 million Venezuelans who elected Constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros last May.
After the resistance mounted by the Bolivarian and Chavista people against the coup, evidenced by the mass demonstrations in support of President Maduro, and the loyalty of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces, the U.S. government has intensified its international political and media campaign, and strengthened unilateral economic coercive measures against Venezuela, among them the freezing of Venezuelan funds in third countries banks, worth billions of dollars, and the theft of the this sister nation’s oil revenue, causing serious humanitarian damage and harsh deprivation to its people.

Fabricate a humanitarian pretext in order to launch a military attack

In addition to this cruel and unjustifiable plunder, the U.S. intends to fabricate a humanitarian pretext in order to launch a military attack on Venezuela and, by resorting to intimidation, pressure, and force, is seeking to introduce into this sovereign nation’s territory alleged humanitarian aid – which is one thousand times inferior as compared to the economic damages provoked by the siege imposed by Washington .
The usurper and self-proclaimed “President” shamelessly announced his disposition to call for a U.S. military intervention under the pretext of receiving the aforementioned humanitarian aid, and has described the sovereign and honorable rejection of that maneuver as a crime against humanity.
High-ranking U.S. officials have been arrogantly and blatantly reminding us all, day after day, that when it comes to Venezuela, “all options are on the table, including military action.”

Resorting to deception and slanders

In the process of fabricating pretexts, the U.S .government has resorted to deception and slanders, presenting a draft resolution at the UN Security Council which, cynically and hypocritically expresses deep concern for the human rights and humanitarian situation…, the recent attempts to block the delivery of humanitarian aid, the millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, the excessive use of force against peaceful protesters, the breakdown of regional peace and security in Venezuela, and calls for taking the necessary steps.
It is obvious that the United States is paving the way to forcibly establish a humanitarian corridor under international supervision, invoke the obligation to protect civilians and take all necessary steps.

Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya

It is worth recalling that similar behaviors and pretexts were used to by the U.S. during the prelude to wars it launched against Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya, which resulted in tremendous human losses and caused enormous suffering.
The U.S. government attempts to remove the biggest obstacle – the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution – to imperialist domination of Our America and deprive the Venezuelan people of the largest certified oil reserves on the planet and numerous strategic natural resources.
It is impossible to forget the sad and painful history of U.S. military interventions perpetrated more than once in Mexico, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Honduras, and most recently Grenada and Panama.
As was warned by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz on July 14, 2017, “The aggression and coup violence against Venezuela harm all of Our America and only benefit the interests of those set on dividing us in order to exercise their control over our peoples, unconcerned about causing conflicts of incalculable consequences in this region, like those we are seeing in different parts of the world.”
History will severely judge a new imperialist military intervention in the region and the complicity of those who might irresponsibly support it.

The will of the people, or the recognition of foreign powers

What is at stake today in Venezuela is the sovereignty and dignity of Latin America and the Caribbean and the peoples of the South. Equally at stake is the survival of the rule of International Law and the UN Charter. What is being defined today is whether the legitimacy of a government emanates from the express and sovereign will of its people, or from the recognition of foreign powers.
The Revolutionary Government calls for an international mobilization in defense of peace in Venezuela and the region, based on the principles established in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, which was adopted by heads of state and government of CELAC in 2014.

The Montevideo Mechanism

It likewise welcomes and supports the Montevideo Mechanism, an initiative promoted by Mexico, Uruguay, the Caribbean Commonwealth (CARICOM), and Bolivia, which seeks to preserve peace in Venezuela based on the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of states, legal equality of states, and the peaceful resolution of conflicts, as stated in its recent declaration.
It welcomes the positive consideration given to this initiative by President Maduro Moros and the international community, and expresses its concern given the U.S. government’s categorical rejection of the dialogue initiatives promoted by several countries, including this one.
The Revolutionary Government reiterates its firm and unwavering solidarity with Constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros, the Bolivarian Chavista Revolution and the civic and military unity of its people, and calls upon all peoples and governments of the world to defend peace and mount a joint opposition, over and above political or ideological differences, to a new imperialist military intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean, which will damage the independence, sovereignty and interests of all peoples from the Rio Bravo to Patagonia.

Another Cuban Medical Achievement: Decrease in Infant Mortality due to Cancer

Source:  Cuba Inside the World
February 13 2019

cuban infant mortality rate decrease

Santiago de Cuba,  (Pr L) The clearly descending curve of children”s mortality due to cancer is on Tuesday one of the main achievements of the comprehensive cancer control program, said Dr. Agustin Lage, a scientist linked to this strategy.
In statements to Prensa Latina, the director of the Center for Molecular Immunology (CIM) indicated that every year the number of infants who die from this disease is lower, which is the result of a policy of the State and its Ministry of Public Health oriented for several years to their confrontation.


The access to sophisticated and complex medicines is another of the possibilities mentioned by the expert, who referred to the effort made for all patients to reach them, difficult aim to achieve in the midst of the financial limitations of the country.

In this sense, Lage emphasized that it is vital the development and contribution of the national pharmaceutical and biotechnological industry, which is absolutely involved in these purposes as one of the strengths that differentiate the Cuban situation from what happens in other places.

The scientific advisor of BioCubafarma, the main entity of the sector, referred to the markedly mercantile character of this branch in other nations, where the objective of maximizing profits leads to the marketing of very expensive products with impacts below these high expectations.

The medicine industry is mostly private in many countries, the researcher recalled when he recognized that in Cuba it is part of a health system with a social vocation and belongs to the people, an advantage that must be taken advantage of by those who work in it to maximize that virtue.

The director of the CIM said that the Cimavax-EGF, a therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer, is applied to patients in a clinical trial in the state of New York, as there is a first agreement with a cancer institute in that nation and steps are being taken for a joint venture for these tests.

A lengthening of survival was the fundamental balance of this formula highlighted by Lage, who also pointed to the operation of a monoclonal antibody factory in China in order to generate resources for the national

Cuba’s constitution is discussed and approved by Cubans

Source:  Granma
February 13 2019

The secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS) continues to follow the script provided by the United States, organizing a new spectacle he is calling a conference on Cuba’s constitution

oas puppetA recognition for more than 50 years
of complicity against the Cuban
people. 
Photo: Granma

“The secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS) continues to follow the script provided by the United States, organizing a new spectacle attacking Cuba, which he has called a conference. On this occasion, in regards to the Cuban constitutional reform project,” stated Eugenio Martínez Enríquez, the Foreign Ministry’s director for Latin America and the Caribbean, during a press conference yesterday.

Martínez noted that the OAS Secretary General continues his anti-Cuban obsession, repeating vulgar lies about our country, ignoring so many truly urgent issues facing the region. The Secretary General should know that neither he or this organization has any right to debate the constitution of a state which is not part of the OAS, nor wishes to be, and is thus not a party to its system of treaties.

Related:  Exposing the OAS’ Anti-Venezuela, Pro-US Bias and Right-Wing Hypocrisy

“The OAS is an organization that, at the service of U.S. imperialism, supported attempts to isolate Cuba, military interventions in Latin America, cruel military dictatorships created, financed and protected for years by the United States, and refused to condemn the most abominable torturers in our region, trampling the rights of the peoples of Our America, “said Martinez Enríquez.

“We do not recognize, nor will we recognize any moral or legal authority on the part of the OAS, its officials or subsidiary bodies, attempting to single out Cuba,” he emphasized.In conclusion, the Foreign Ministry’s director for Latin America and the Caribbean added that Cuba’s Constitution is the sovereign authority of its people, who democratically debated the document and will vote to approve it February 24.

President Nicolás Maduro’s Interview with the BBC

Internationalist 360
February 12 2019

bbc interviews maduro.jpg

Orla Guerin, BBC News

As we sit here, there is US aid across the border in Colombia. We have met many people here who tell us they are desperately in need of aid. Why not allow it through?

Nicolás Maduro, Venezuelan president

First of all, it’s a show, that the United States government has set up with the compliance of the Colombian government to humiliate the Venezuelans. Venezuela is a country that has the capacity to satisfy all the necessities of our people.

Venezuela is a country that has problems like any country. We are in a battle that has been going on for many years, a successful battle, to reduce poverty, misery, in order to increase the job capacity, to establish a social security system to protect 100% of our pensioners, in order to establish a public health system that reaches all the Venezuelan population, to establish an educational system, that reaches 90% of our girls, boys, and our young.

Venezuela is a country that has dignity, and the United States has intended to create a humanitarian crisis in order to justify a military intervention, “humanitarian”. And this is part of that show. That’s the reason that we, with dignity, tell them that the miniscule crumbs that they intend to bring with toxic food, with leftovers that they have, we tell them no – Venezuela has dignity, Venezuela produces and works and our people do not to beg from anyone.

Guerin

You say the humanitarian aid is a show, but are you actually saying that the hunger is a show? We have seen it with our own eyes. I have met a mother of five who told me that her children go to bed every night with nothing to eat, and just a short drive from here, we have actually seen people reaching into the garbage with their hands to find food to eat. Are you honestly saying there is no hunger in Venezuela?

Maduro

I am telling you that the BBC in London has created a stereotype – the American media also – of a Venezuela that doesn’t exist. We have 4.4% of what we call extreme poverty, misery. Of course this is still something that we have to overcome, but we come from 25% of extreme poverty, and we have reduced all the indexes of inequality. Venezuela today currently has indexes recognised by international organisations in the highest levels of social equality in social investment.

Do we have problems? Yes. But Venezuela is not a country with hunger.

Venezuela has the highest levels of nutrients, has extremely high levels of access to food and that stereotype, that stigma that they have tried to put on us, has only one objective: present a humanitarian crisis that does not exist in Venezuela, in order to do an intervention.

In any case I tell you, the United States, Donald Trump’s government, has sequestered $10 billion of bank accounts that belong to us. They have sequestered billions of dollars in gold in London that are ours – that is money to buy supplies, raw materials, food, medicines. They have sequestered $1.4bn for many months, that we are going to use to buy food, medicines in Euroclear.

It’s very simple, if you want to help Venezuela, release the billions of dollars in resources that belong to us. So don’t come with a cheap show, a show of indignity, of humiliation, where they offer $20m dollars in food that is toxic, and rotten.

Guerin

I know your position, President Maduro, is that there is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. If that is the case, why have more than three million of your people left? That’s one tenth of the population. The Unites States says people are leaving at the rate of 5,000 per day. If there is no crisis here, what is driving them from their homeland?

Maduro

You all have a problem, in the Western media. That you take it as a fact any lie that is transmitted. All that emigration campaign that has been said about Venezuela has been exaggerated. Venezuela is a country that receives immigrants, and you don’t show that and you don’t transmit it. Venezuela has here 5.8 million Colombians, that have immigrated due to the war in Colombia – because of the violation of human rights, and because of the misery. We have more than 300,000 Italians, more than 300,000 Portuguese, more than 300,000 Spaniards, more than a million Arabs, more than 300,000 Ecuadorians, more than 300,000 Peruvians,

There are more than 10 million immigrations coming every year to Venezuela.

Now, due to the economic war there is a new phenomenon of migration.

We have the official numbers that show no more than 800,000 Venezuelans have left in the past two years, due to economic reasons, trying to look for new alternatives.

Many of those Venezuelans were shattered because they encountered situations they did not expect like racism, discrimination, labour slavery, and thousands are coming back. In any case I can tell you that Venezuela is a country that offers opportunities in areas such as social development, social protection, social security, and that is why that even though the economic blockade and with the economic sanctions, and the economic persecution, Venezuela still continues being a country that receives immigrants. That’s the truth.

Last year, in December 2018, you know how many Colombians came? 120,000 Colombians came to set up in Venezuela, which led us to the number of 5.8 million. That’s the truth that nobody says. The thing is that the script is established in the West to disfigure the Venezuela situation, and justify any intervention, any aggression, as is happening right now.

Guerin

But with respect, President Maduro, you can see every day at the border with Colombia large numbers of people leaving here. Even if we accept your figure that only 800,000 have gone, that’s almost a million of your people who have left. Yet you are saying there is no humanitarian crisis.

Maduro

You have to see that economic war that we have been enduring, the financial persecution. Every single account that Venezuela has in the world has been traced. That has made an impact on the economic reality. And of course, some Venezuelans thought, because of the social media campaigns, go and find an alternative type of job abroad. The educational level of the Venezuelans that have left is very high. There’s a lot of university professionals that have left, people of a very good level have left, qualified workers, technical of high standards, and looking for alternatives abroad, they found even worse situations. And you can almost be assured that the majority of these Venezuelans that have left due to the economic reasons are going to come back.

Venezuela has the problems that any country could have, in the South, in the third world, in Latin America. We have made a lot of progress in our social indexes, that is a reality. Venezuela is a country that has the highest social indexes in social advancement of the entire continent.

Now we have problems, yes, of course we do. If we have the most powerful empire in the world, Orla, the most powerful empire in the world, targeting all our accounts, freezing all our assets abroad, going after every ship that comes to Venezuela bringing products, of course that has brought considerable disruption. We have confronted it, and rest assured, we are going to overcome.

Guerin

You say some of the problems here could be seen in other countries, but with respect Mr President, you have a hyper inflation rate last year of 1,000,000%. Nowhere else in the world is experiencing hyper inflation like that.

When you came to power, just before you came to power, the inflation rate here was 20%. So are you saying that the complete economic collapse here has nothing to do with you?

Maduro

I’ll tell you again, you take as reference anything that comes in the Western media. I invite you to look at Venezuela in depth. Of course we have problems of an economic aggression, but 1,000,000% inflation, no country in the world would survive that, Orla. So you take as truth, you don’t even question any number as long as its against Venezuela, you don’t question it. You are completely non-critical to the lies that are being said about Venezuela.

Well that’s the way you are, that’s the way BBC is, that’s the way CNN is, you are the Western media, because you are in the script, to intervene in our country. Why is Venezuela so interesting for the West, why is it so interesting for the United States? If we produced potatoes, if we produced parsley, if we produced apples, maybe we would not even exist on the geopolitical map.

But because Venezuela produces oil, and it’s the largest oil reserve in the world, because Venezuela has the fourth largest reserves of gas, because we have and are now certifying the largest gold reserves in the world, Venezuela is important. Venezuela is leader of OPEC, Venezuela presides nowadays in OPEC, so it’s important to throw stuff at Venezuela, to make attacks of all sorts – social, economic, political, military – to surround Venezuela in order to create a situation the way they did with Iraq, with Libya. But Venezuela is not Iran or Libya, Venezuela has its capacity. We will confront all these issues and be assured that all those campaigns of media aggression, of lies, slowly we will start conquering them with reality.

Guerin

You think we have a preconceived idea. I came to Venezuela for the first time two weeks ago. We have had a chance over those two weeks to see living conditions for ourselves. We have met with a young cancer patient whose mother was told she had to pay for his biopsy herself, and she told us it would take two years to earn the money. We met a young patient with tuberculosis, who was getting no treatment because there are no medicines. We met a young man with a brain tumour who told us he has been waiting a year for an operation because he himself has to rent surgical equipment. These are people that we have met and have heard their stories first hand. What do you say to them?

Maduro

That we are putting up a huge fight, of the $1.4bn that were sequestered in Euroclear, half of that was to bring medicines to fight diabetes, to fight cancer. They were frozen over there, and then we start looking via Portugal, and then they froze over $2bn with which we had bought the substitutes of these medicines. In spite of all that we brought medicines into the country. It’s a huge effort. No country has endured what we have endured.

Guerin

But the people can’t afford to buy it. There may be medicine but we have met people who say that two boxes of antibiotics costs a month’s salary.

Maduro

You are first talking about specific cases – some people that had surgery, and some people that are being taking care of. You can rest assured that the Venezuelan social health system will reach them, and rest assured that everything that has to do with the medical system, we have a primary system of medicine distribution, that no other country in the world has. We have the family doctors, we have more than 30,000 doctors distributed in the communities, in the barrios, and the doctor not only takes care of his clinic, he goes house by house, in the clinic and in the visits house by house he takes the medicine directly to the person that needs it. That gives us a very extensive coverage and we have been managing with a huge effort – with the economic blockade, with the economic persecution – we have been stabilising the pharmaceutical industry, the national pharmaceutical industry, and we have been regulating with a huge effort, three times what a country that is not blocked has to do, in order to regulate the supply and sale of medicines, in the private system.

Guerin

But we stood in a hospital not far from here and we saw ourselves that they didn’t have insulin, they had not had it for five years. They didn’t have basic medication. This is a public hospital in Caracas, not in a distant part of the country.

Maduro

I’m not talking about the interior of the country, or about Caracas, I’m talking about the entire country, which is affected. So they choke us and they ask us why are we suffocating? That’s your question. You don’t question anything. The financial persecution, the blockade, the mental scheme that you bring, from the West, from London, simply is just to finish killing the person who is being choked, and kicked.

And our scheme is different, our scheme is of resistance to take care of the people. You come to justify all the persecution, and the social consequences of that persecution. Because if I had my money secured, the money of the country, in a bank account and then it’s sequestered, and that money was to bring medicines, then you come and say that there is no medicines in the country. Why don’t we have medicines, and then you should also ask, why did it arrive? Try to change your mental scheme. Why is Venezuela the geopolitical centre of the world, why Venezuela, and why is it not any country in Asia, or Latin America, or Africa, why? Ask yourself. Because they want to conquer us, colonise us. They won’t be able to, we are solid, legitimate, and popular. People that are suffering are conscious why, and they are conscious of the protection that we give them, and they support this revolution. If that wasn’t the case we would not have been here for 20 years, wining 23 elections out of 25. You have to ask yourself, why the mental schemes that you do, why the script that you bring from the North, does not work in Venezuela. Why?

Guerin

But your election victory last year is disputed by many people. There are now more than 50 governments that have recognised Juan Guaidó as the interim President of Venezuela.

Maduro

Fifty, where did you get that number from? Where do you get your numbers from, really? You bring a mental picture that you should check. You should check, I am not going to tell you more because really it’s on your part. If you are an objective journalist, stable, or you only come here to verify your war campaign, the BBC’s war campaign, and the western campaign against Venezuela.

Venezuela is a noble country. Venezuela has the right to peace, it’s not right that we are enduring this campaign of war.

Venezuela does not want war. Venezuela does not want the result of all this campaign that you conduct. ne day troops come, in order to conquer our country. Venezuela wants peace and respect, and all of you to stop lying daily, please.

Guerin

But do you dispute the figure, do you dispute that 50 countries have now recognised the opposition leader Juan Guaidó?

Maduro

It’s not that I agree, is that you are lying. It’s not that I agree or you agree, you bring an image, you are a person, that expresses a dogmatism, of the West, against Venezuela. You are dogmatic, you are not capable of checking yourself, and see if one thing is true, or not, you are dogmatic, you have no critical sense, there is only one way of thinking. That’s how you call it, it’s called one way of thinking.

Guerin

President Maduro, these are facts. These countries have now recognised the opposition leader here as the President. What do you say to them?

Maduro

First of all it’s not 50, not even the European Union. It’s not my duty to say. It’s about 10 countries – governments, not countries, governments – that are in alignment with the politics of Donald Trump. What you have to ask yourself is where does all this political aggression come from? Where does this coup d’état scenario come from? Where does it come from? Trying to impose in Venezuela a government that nobody has elected, a government that declared itself in a public square, absolutely unconstitutional and irregular. Where does it come from? From the White House, who conducts it? Donald Trump. The extremists of the White House have taken it upon themselves to carry out a coup in Venezuela. And we have rejected it and the entire world has rejected it. Now a Western campaign continues in a rushed way, I would say in an evil way. Donald Trump’s politics continue. I would tell the world – Europe, London, the United Kingdom – ask yourselves, if you are not being led to a road with no exit, to failure, as you are letting Donald Trump lead you to a completely extremist illegal politics that violates the United Nations charter. And it has no support in Venezuela.

It has already failed, that politics of trying to impose a government that nobody elected. In Venezuela according to this constitution, the sovereignty resides in the people and is non-transferable. It is non-transferable.

And only through the people’s vote you can elect a president in Venezuela. That’s like someone comes to a public square in London, and proclaims himself Queen of England, or proclaims himself Prime Minister, and then three governments come and recognise it. That’s outrageous. It’s one of the biggest political outrages in international politics. In Venezuela, the people elect and according to this constitution, only the people can put you in power and remove you.

Guerin

You say it’s up to the people to decide. Why not call a new presidential election, a free and fair and credible election, and let the people have their say? It seems as if your country now is very divided on the question of who should be president.

Maduro

Well there could be a debate in any country – who should be Prime Minister, who should be president – but every country has an electoral schedule, they have rules, electoral rules. Venezuela in the last 18 months has had votes to elect 23 governors, and we won 19. We have 335 municipalities, and out of 335 we won 307. We have chosen, and we have gone six times to election in the past 18 months, and on 20 May of last year, we had an election based on the constitution, for president of the republic, and I won with 68% of the vote. The opposition since then, the government of the United States, has boycotted this election.

Because they knew that there was no candidate from the opposition that could beat me in a presidential election, and they positioned this coup d’état a year ago. Venezuela already had its election.

The election that’s still pending, and probably we will bring it forward, is the election of the parliament. That’s the organism of the democratic institutions in Venezuela that has not been re-legitimised. I completely agree that we should bring that election forward, the parliamentary elections, and the Presidential elections, look at this, there is a very important element.

Our constitution allows a feature called a revocatory referendum. It’s one of the few places in the world where it exists. It means that in the middle of the term of any popular election, the people could activate a revocatory referendum.

The opposition has that option left, in the year 2022, to start the process of a revocatory referendum. Let’s respect the rules of the game, let nobody impose a worldwide blackmail, an international blackmail, so that Venezuela breaks its rules, or electoral regulations.

Guerin

Could you win a presidential election now?

Maduro

I already won it. And nowadays all the polls say that the Popular Bolivarian forces that I represent – that we represent – we have the social majority, cultural, political, electoral, we have won. You should know, in 20 years, we have won 23 elections out of 25 that we have held. Presidential elections, for governors, for mayors, for parliament, referendums.

Guerin

But many would say they have not always been fair, particularly the last one. There are allegations of ballot stuffing, and opposition candidates were not allowed to take part. It was not a level playing field in the last election, and this is why many would say that your victory in that election is in doubt. If you are confident now of a new victory, why not have a new election?

Maduro

What is the logic, reasoning, to repeat an election? There has not been even one legal question internally to the electoral authority, which is the maximum authority that regulates the elections, within the judicial power. What there have been are political questions, and from whom? From the government of the United States. The government of the United States, since January 2018, four months before the elections were held, Donald Trump said we are not going to recognise any results of the Presidential elections held in Venezuela. And still we hadn’t even set the date. Listen Orla, please, it’s a war. I pray that God enlightens you, and enlightens the opinion of the audience watching the BBC. It’s a political war, of the United States empire, of the interests of the extreme right that today is governing, of the Ku Klux Klan, that rules the White House, to take over Venezuela, and they have positioned a political strategy, communications, diplomatic, warmongering, in order to take over Venezuela. And us, with the truth in our country, we are dismantling all that manipulation, all those lies that repeated day after day.

Guerin

Do you really think the Ku Klux Klan is ruling America?

Maduro

I believe that the extremist sector of the White Supremacist of the Ku Klux Klan lead the United States. I believe it’s a gang of extremists.

Guerin

Are you calling President Trump a white supremacist?

Maduro

He is, publicly and openly, and he has stimulated the fascist tendencies, neofascists, neo-Nazis, within the United States, in Europe, in Latin America.

It’s an extremist sector that hates the world. They hate us Latin Americans, Central Americans, Mexicans, Venezuelans, they hate us, they belittle us, they hate the entire world, because they only believe in their own interests, and in the interests of the United States. So in this battle that we are leading for Venezuela, I tell you, it’s a battle that goes beyond our country. The battle to respond, look at this, Donald Trump threatened us with a military invasion, just a few days ago. He said he was going to send the United States army into Venezuela.

Why? What is the reason? The pretext, the motive to declare war against Venezuela, which is a peaceful country. I call upon the people of the world, to wake up, open your eyes, to see that it is an aggression against the peaceful country. That Venezuela has problems like many other countries in the world, but only in peace can we solve our problems. And if you really want to help Venezuela you have to support peace.

Say no to the intervention, tell the United States, hands off Venezuela, and support Venezuela in its own efforts to resolve its own problems through dialogue.

Guerin

You say to the Americans hands off Venezuela, and that’s fair enough, it’s your country. But do you think you are also facing criticism from Latin American nations? It’s not only Washington that is criticising you at the moment, it also some of your neighbours here in Latin America.

Maduro

Well unfortunately some governments of the extreme right are now in power – Colombia for example, Chile. They are governments, the one from Chile comes from the Pinochet tradition, President Pinera, Macri in Argentina, and now they form a bloc of extreme right.

They have substituted the international policy of respect, tolerance, to impose an ideology, an ideology that has imposed a very big intolerance in international politics. And we have very opposing viewpoints. Well they form a group of 11 countries. With the rest of the countries of Latin America, and the Caribbean, we have permanent relationships. We just had a meeting in Montevideo, a very important meeting that everyone should know about, promoted by Mexico, Bolivia, Uruguay, and the 14 governments from CARICOM, from the Caribbean. They propose a mechanism for dialogue, to help Venezuela in four phases. With these countries, there are 17 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, they are currently working on a process of dialogue that I fully support, a dialogue with no secrets, an open dialogue, and that will allow the Venezuela to treat these items in peace, and resolve them.

Guerin

But Europe is also questioning your legitimacy. It’s not only the White House, it’s not only some of the neighbours here in Latin America. It’s also large powerful countries in Europe.

Maduro

It’s unfortunate that Europe, after being kicked by Donald Trump, are now behind Donald Trump – some countries, some governments. Behind Donald Trump in a completely illegal policy that has no reason to be. I have been in meetings very frequently with European Union ambassadors, and I have read them the constitution, and I have demonstrated that they are outside of the international rules of the game, of respect. Everything that they say is a lie. Well I really hope from the European countries, even those who have gone in the wrong direction, and those who are just waiting, observing, I hope more from them. I hope that they listen to us, they only listen as I told them to one version, the statements and the communications from the European Union, are a complete reproduction of what the Venezuela extreme right has said. It can’t be.

Orla, we are really a force that exists, with a historic background, and cultural background, with a political and democratic background, this Bolivarian movement that was founded by Commandante Chavez has an existing force, powerful, in Venezuela, that deserves to be heard. I tell Europe, listen more, open your ears, and please, go in the path of respect.

Guerin

How much of your gold is currently being frozen in the Bank of England? There are assets of Venezuela belonging to this country that you have been trying to access through the Bank of England. How much of your gold is currently frozen, and have you any chance of getting that?

Maduro

Well in general, in England there could be more or less 80 tonnes. Legally, it’s Venezuela’s gold, established by the institutions.

It’s protected by the central banks. It’s gold that belongs to the central bank of Venezuela. And I hope that the international law is respected. And the Central Bank of Venezuela is respected. And that hopefully the law will prevail.

And that Venezuela is not robbed of its gold/expropriated of the gold that legally belongs to us.

Guerin

What would you say to the British government and to Theresa May?

Maduro

In reality we have not had much of a relationship with the prime minister. If she would listen to me, I would tell her that she should open her ears wide and see the aggression and not be partners in crime in what could be an invasion, a war in Latin America. That the extremist group that is in the White House is willing to do anything, and in the name of Venezuela, I tell her look at the reality, look into the heart of Venezuela. It goes beyond the information and the campaigns that are being waged daily against us. And that hopefully she has the opportunity that the UK and in general Europe could then propose a respectful dialogue between Venezuelans. There is a severe risk to peace in Latin America and the Caribbean. Venezuela will fight if we have to. For our liberty and for our independence. We fought in the past and there were many English, Irish that were on the battlefields of Venezuela. I am sending a message beyond Mrs May to the people of the United Kingdom, the people of England, to all the people of the United Kingdom, to have solidarity with us and support peace, and to enforce John Lennon’s song, Give Peace A Chance. Give Peace a Chance and give truth a chance in Venezuela – that would be my call.

Guerin

You have said you are ready to fight. Are you ready to take up arms against the US military if they decide to cross the border?

Maduro

They would not leave us any other option. We would have to defend the right of our country to exist. To defend our right to peace. I hope that doesn’t happen. I hope that public opinion will be on the side of peace and they can see how noble the Venezuelan people are, and that we have a right to discuss our own problems in peace. And that nobody interferes with Venezuela. No-one. And that this extremist group that is in the White House is defeated by powerful world-wide public opinion. I have faith in that. I am a believer, I am a Christian and I always ask God to enlighten us and protect us. And I have faith that we are going to accomplish everything in piece.

Guerin

The opposition has talked about getting volunteers, getting people to the border to get the aid across. If they attempt to do that would your troops fire on your own people?

Maduro

We have never done that. We would never do that. We have never done that. The opposition has its tactics. It’s politics. They create their own shows. They have the freedom in this country to do anything they want. But there has never been and never will be repression of that kind. Please.

Guerin

But there have been people killed in anti government protests. Just last month the United Nations said that as many as 40 were killed, about 26 by your security forces. People have been killed for protesting –

Maduro

What protests? They have not shown a single bit of proof of a campaign that lasted 15 days. I saw it, I watch international news and the international news was showing a Venezuela that was not on the street. Of course on the 23 January there were big rallies. The opposition held a big march and so did we. And with those images and other images of confrontation on the streets, they ended up saying that there were enormous protests that lasted fifteen days in Venezuela. I spoke with prime ministers and presidents from around the world who called me, the 25, 28, 29 January, the first of February and they were asking me if there were big demonstrations in the streets. And I said no, Venezuela is working, Venezuela is in peace. Because they tried to show – look at this. In order to justify this coup d’état and find the international support they had a plan to stir up the main cities in the country but they failed. It’s a small group of delinquents that went out to the streets, paid for by sections of the opposition and they were caught in the middle of their violent action.

Guerin

There were many large-scale protests. We have seen some of those ourselves. We have also seen your supporters. But do you dispute that the opposition has been able to bring large numbers out and these people have said they are calling for change?

Maduro

Yes, I saw them. And they were given the right to protest and have big protests. The same for the opposition as for us. Venezuela is a dynamic democracy with people who support the revolution and people who oppose the revolution. Whenever they go out and march, they will have the right to do so. And I always say I hope they do it in peace. They have small violent cells of protestors that when the demonstrations are over, the marches of the opposition, always try to have a confrontation with the police in order to cause disturbance. The opposition has all the freedom to march as many times as they want, with their slogans and demands and we are also going to mobilise our people. Fortunately our people have a dynamic democracy.

Guerin

Is there any set of circumstances in which you would give up power?

Maduro

It is not about me as an individual wanting to be in power, Orla, and it is not my individual choice to abandon power. I am part of a social, political and historical revolutionary movement and that popular movement placed me in this position of responsibility. Complying with all the constitutional steps, electoral requirements and the mandate that they gave me is very powerful. And I have to comply with that mandate with my life. I swore to do this. I swore in the national supreme court to give my life to uphold and enforce the constitution, that is the mandate. And I am going to go beyond words to the end of what is possible to do this.

Guerin

Are you confident you still have the support of the army? There is a lot of intimidation in the army now – people are being jailed when they speak out against you.

Maduro

Well, that is another of the myths that were created throughout this campaign against me. The national Bolivarian armed forces is structurally humane. It’s Bolivarian. democratic. Structurally institutionalised. And it’s an armed forces forged through its values and a new doctrine, a new concept with teaching academies, and with a university for permanent learning. It’s a new type of armed forces. This is not just an army, just made up of a random group of people, nor is it a rebellious army. It is not an army in the style of Pinochet. Nor will it be. So therefore these armed forces are loyal to the constitution. Loyal. Firmly loyal to the constitution. Mobilised in defence. Preparing themselves to defend the country. With very high moral values. They are very conscientious. And loyal to the Constitutional Commander in Chief, who is Nicolás Maduro. I am the head of state and the head of government and am, according to the constitution, the Commander in Chief. They are loyal because they have a conscience and they have morals. It’s not a rebellious armed forces. And it’s not an armed forces that will put themselves at the service of the interests of the United States, of Donald Trump’s Empire of the United States. Donald Trump has given orders on Twitter, it’s incredible, Orla. Donald Trump, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence – they have commanded the Venezuelan armed forces to rise up in rebellion against the president of the republic. They have gone to extreme lengths and I am sure it has never been done with any country in the world before. And where are the armed forces? Are they going to serve Donald Trump? No. The armed forces are loyal. To the country and the constitution and recognising their commander in chief as the legitimate chief. I have a level of relationship that I inherited from commandante Hugo Chavez, and that I have developed. So it is now a very deep, sincere honest and real relationship with all the officers, with the armed forces, with the soldiers. And that is a big strength that our country has.

Guerin

How do you think Hugo Chavez would feel if he saw Venezuela today?

Maduro

He would feel motivated to fight for our country as he always did. Commandante Chavez had to endure very similar circumstances to these, very similar. George W Bush launched a coup d’état against him on 11 and 12 April 2002. He was kidnapped and they were going to kill him and Chavez did not hesitate, not even for one second, to defend his principles, his ideals and to fight to stay alive. So therefore Chavez for us is a huge inspiration. I always think, what would Chavez do in these circumstances? And that helps me a lot to find the right way forward, to know what to do every day.

Guerin

One last question, if I may, about the Americans. If President Trump was to put 5,000 US troops on the Colombian border, how would you respond?

Maduro

He can put a million if he wants to. If it’s inside Colombia he can bring a million tanks, a million planes, a million soldiers. It’s not a problem, if they stay inside Colombia, there is no problem. We will defend Venezuela and we will make them respect Venezuela. And with the conscience of the world and the conscience of the decent people of the world, we must tie the hands of Donald Trump, prevent Donald Trump from starting a war in Latin America. Or to assault Venezuela. I appeal for solidarity. I appeal for active solidarity of all the people of conscience in the world, beyond any ideology. No to a war in Venezuela. No to an invasion of Venezuela. And that we all tell Donald Trump: hands off Venezuela. Venezuela wants peace, tranquillity, happiness.

Guerin

If a convoy comes through without authorisation would you fire upon it? If a plane comes in without authorisation would it be attacked?

Maduro

They should send a convoy with the dollars they have stolen from us. Send a convoy with the gold with the 80 tonnes. Let it come, the convoy with money. It’s our money. With that, we could solve all our country’s problems.

Guerin

What would you say to the people who are hungry now, to the people who can’t find food, can’t find medicine, who are worried they won’t have fuel. What do you say to them?

Maduro

I tell them, and more than that, I act. I generate jobs, the pension system, protect Venezuelan families, continue to protect Venezuelan families, continue reducing extreme poverty. We have made a commitment between 2017 and 2025 to reach a state of zero poverty and we are going to accomplish it. You will see that we will do it.

Guerin

A very last question: can you tell me how much a kilo of cheese costs in Venezuela?

Maduro

It has different prices depending on the region.

Guerin

Because we have been told it is the equivalent of a month’s wages and that is what it is costing people just to buy one kilo of cheese.

Maduro

We have different scales of salary. Now this is a very Venezuelan issue.

I don’t think your audience is interested in that. You see, because if we had time to compare the jobs, social protection, social security, public health, and public education available to the Venezuelan people, then with time probably your audience would understand. So I can tell you in Venezuela we have a policy of social protection to generate jobs and our people progressively will start solving their problems and they won’t want for anything. I can tell you that.

Guerin

Have you heard from Jeremy Corbyn, the British opposition leader, during this crisis? Do you feel he hasn’t given you enough support? He has been a strong supporter of Venezuela in the past.

Maduro

No, we haven’t spoken.

Guerin

And do you think he should have given you support?

Maduro

I think he should continue to be the leader that he is in the United Kingdom.