President Nicolás Maduro’s Interview with the BBC

Internationalist 360
February 12 2019

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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.

Within 24 Hours Two Million Venezuelan Signatures For Peace

Source: Internationalist 360
February 8 2019

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Within 24 hours two million signatures have been collected in favor of peace

The president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, during a press conference, held at the Miraflores Palace, on Friday, said that in just 24 hours two million signatures of Venezuelans have been collected, who subscribe to the Charter to peace, which will be delivered in a popular march in the White House.

“They have failed. Our country today is more determined than ever to fight for its independence, dignity, for its historic right to exist, for its right to peace”, he declared.

In the Simón Bolívar Room, at the presidential palace and in the presence of more than 60 representatives of audiovisual media and national and international agencies, the head of state began the meeting by saying: “we are facing and developing all of the defense of Venezuelan democracy, we are in a great day of defense of Venezuelan democracy, of the defense of national sovereignty, of the right to peace, three key elements that are linked: democracy, freedom of the people, sovereignty, territorial integrity and the right to peace, three elements that are being subjected to harassment, permanent aggression, trying to impose, above the Constitution, formulas that are not contained in it: a dual, parallel, phantasmagoric government that is not supported by any letter or mandate of the Constitution”.

The constitutional president, Nicolás Maduro Moros, referred that the government of the United States, tried to violate the national sovereignty, at the same time mentioned the show “called humanitarian operation and the peace threatened by the government of Mr. Donald Trump who has ratified, last Sunday in television interview, his threat of military invasion against Venezuela”.

The National President mentioned the meeting in Montevideo, on the eve of this Wednesday, 6th, “for a diplomatic initiative for dialogue and peace in Venezuela, the governments of Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia and the 14 Caricom governments in the Caribbean, subscribed a document called the Montevideo Mechanism, which respectfully takes steps towards a dialogue among Venezuelans, with the facilitation and support of our Latin American and Caribbean brothers, within the framework of the principles of international law, the principles that unite us as a region”.

“I have greeted this initiative and I have confirmed that we are in the immediate disposition to accompany any action that goes in the way of diplomacy, dialogue, understanding, meeting, among Venezuelans, it seems very important that once again, from Latin America, from the Caribbean arise peace initiatives, respectful of national sovereignty so Venezuelans can work on a path of dialogue, peace, are very important initiatives”, he said.

He stressed the reaction of repudiation and rejection of the threats of Donald Trump in the world and said: “It is very dangerous that the president of the most powerful and aggressive military power in the world says he has the military option against Venezuela”.

White House naked

“Venezuelans ask ourselves: what is the cause of war? According to even international law, which has existed for decades, what is the pretext or motive to threaten a peaceful country? what is it? Is there any just cause, that could be called a pretext or motive, to threaten the use of force, in violation of the United Nations Charter?”, He asked responding: “We all know there is none, even beyond the opinions that some may have about the Bolivarian Revolution, of the revolutionary government that I preside, beyond the opinions some may have of the socialism of the XXI Century that we strive to work in building and creating, beyond that, there is an international law, there is international justice, and that right and that international justice, seen from any point of view, simply leave naked the intention of that dominant imperial elite in the White House to seize Venezuela for its oil resources, mining resources, for the great wealth of our country”.

He explained that from the United States an operation was mounted during the last years in order to harass, corral and surrender the country, however, he said: “They have failed, our country today is more determined than ever to fight for its independence, for its dignity, for its historical right to exist, for its right to peace”.

He reported that, just in 24 hours of starting the work day for peace, in all the Bolívar squares of the country, two million Venezuelans had demonstrated, with the collection of signatures, their support to the Open Letter to the American people, to be delivered in popular march to the White House, in the United States.

When considering the peace initiatives assumed by the Venezuelans, he expressed the way how daily lies have been fabricated about Venezuela, and denounced that the arguments, force and power of the Bolivarian Government are invisible.

“This press conference always has the interest that we, the invisible are heard, on behalf of the invisible, I speak to the peoples of the world, speak with the truth of Venezuela, so the truth of Venezuela reverberates and opens spaces of peace, understanding , respect, which is what we ask the world, respect, peace, democracy, is what we ask to the world”, he said.

He expressed: “you can not impose the unique thought, from the White House of Donald Trump to the world, the unique thought using all its power to destroy a country with a noble project, as it is the Bolivarian project, we have a lot of moral, spiritual and political reserve, in Venezuela, to inform you, social communicators of the world, Venezuela is standing and will keep standing, I hope this true can be transmitted on the keyboards of your computers before the avalanche of aggressions, lies, manipulations, and may the truth makes its room like a ray of fulminating light, that is our faith, for that faith we fight every day”.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro talks to the press at the presidential palace in Caracas on Friday, February 8.

The political situation in Venezuela is unclear after Maduro was sworn in for a second term as President and Venezuelan opposition leader and head of the National Assembly Juan Guaido declared the inauguration illegitimate, announcing himself interim president.

Maduro has condemned the decision of a number of countries to recognise Guaido as Venezuela’s acting president and blocked the entrance of humanitarian aid through the Colombian / Venezuelan border, claiming it would be the start of a US-led invasion.

An Open Letter to the American People from President Nicolás Maduro

Source:  Tony Seed’s Weblog
February 7 2019

maduro's open letter to the american people

If I know anything, it is about peoples, such as you. I am a man of the people. I was born and raised in a poor neighborhood of Caracas. I forged myself in the heat of popular and union struggles in a Venezuela submerged in exclusion and inequality. I am not a tycoon, I am a worker of reason and heart. Today I have the great privilege of presiding over the new Venezuela, rooted in a model of inclusive development and social equality, which was forged by Commander Hugo Chávez since 1998 inspired by the Bolivarian legacy.

We live today a historical trance. There are days that will define the future of our countries between war and peace. Your national representatives of Washington want to bring to their borders the same hatred that they planted in Vietnam. They want to invade and intervene in Venezuela – they say, as they said then – in the name of democracy and freedom. But it’s not like that. The history of the usurpation of power in Venezuela is as false as the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It is a false case, but it can have dramatic consequences for our entire region.

Venezuela is a country that, by virtue of its 1999 Constitution, has broadly expanded the participatory and protagonist democracy of the people, and that is unprecedented today, as one of the countries with the largest number of electoral processes in its last 20 years. You might not like our ideology, or our appearance, but we exist and we are millions.

I address these words to the people of the United States of America to warn of the gravity and danger that intend some sectors in the White House to invade Venezuela with unpredictable consequences for my country and for the entire American region. President Donald Trump also intends to disturb noble dialogue initiatives promoted by Uruguay and Mexico with the support of CARICOM for a peaceful solution and dialogue in favour of Venezuela. We know that for the good of Venezuela we have to sit down and talk, because to refuse to dialogue is to choose strength as a way. Keep in mind the words of John F. Kennedy: “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate”. Are those who do not want to dialogue afraid of the truth?

The political intolerance towards the Venezuelan Bolivarian model and the desires for our immense oil resources, minerals and other great riches, has prompted an international coalition headed by the US government to commit the serious insanity of militarily attacking Venezuela under the false excuse of a non-existent humanitarian crisis.

The people of Venezuela have suffered painfully social wounds caused by a criminal commercial and financial blockade, which has been aggravated by the dispossession and robbery of our financial resources and assets in countries aligned with this demented onslaught.

And yet, thanks to a new system of social protection, of direct attention to the most vulnerable sectors, we proudly continue to be a country with high human development index and lower inequality in the Americas.

The American people must know that this complex multiform aggression is carried out with total impunity and in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations, which expressly outlaws the threat or use of force, among other principles and purposes for the sake of peace and the friendly relations between the Nations.

We want to continue being business partners of the people of the United States, as we have been throughout our history. Their politicians in Washington, on the other hand, are willing to send their sons and daughters to die in an absurd war, instead of respecting the sacred right of the Venezuelan people to self-determination and safeguarding their sovereignty.

Like you, people of the United States, we Venezuelans are patriots. And we shall defend our homeland with all the pieces of our soul. Today Venezuela is united in a single clamor: we demand the cessation of the aggression that seeks to suffocate our economy and socially suffocate our people, as well as the cessation of the serious and dangerous threats of military intervention against Venezuela. We appeal to the good soul of the American society, victim of its own leaders, to join our call for peace, let us be all one people against warmongering and war.

Long live the peoples of America!

Nicolás Maduro

President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Jamaica: Churches want government to fully explain position on Venezuela

Source:  St. Lucia Online
By CMC

January 15, 2019

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(CMC) – The Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) says it is in search of the sustainable underlying principles and rationale underlining the government’s position regarding two matters involving Venezuela even as Kingston maintains that it had come under no external pressure in adopting its positions.

The JCC said it was seeking transparency, openness and forthrightness from the government with regards to the decision to forcibly acquire Venezuela’s 49 per cent share in the ownership of Petrojam and its vote at the recent meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) not to recognise the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro’s presidency.

Lacking any sense of reciprocity

“We recall the strong historic links we have shared with that nation (Venezuela) and expressions of friendship it has extended to us repeatedly, over time, most notably when we faced serious economic challenges from the rise in global oil prices.

“They came to our rescue with very generous terms under the San Jose Accord, the terms and conditions of which assisted in stabilising our economy and allowing for major development projects through a long-term facility,” JCC said in a statement.

It said “now that Venezuela is facing a major economic, social and political crisis, our apparent hard-nosed policy towards that nation appears to lack any sense of reciprocity and an abandonment of a relationship with a friendly nation in its time of need”.

The JCC said that it is not completely satisfied with the explanation given by Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith that the decision on Petrojam is being driven purely by economic reasons.

A message to our growing nation

“We are willing to believe that there were other equally compelling reasons and strenuous efforts made to avoid this route since we certainly would not want to be sending a message to our growing nation that friendships/ relationships are easily dispensable in the face of money,” it said.

The JCC said that on the issue of the Maduro’s presidency, it has taken note of the geo-political powers and dynamics of the OAS, as well as the situation in Caracas, but also taken note of the Jamaica’s previous position on the affairs of other countries.

“It was not too long ago that there was a statement to the effect that Jamaica does not intervene in the internal affairs of other nations, when it appears that this is precisely what the vote cast by Jamaica at the OAS forum did,” JCC said.

Meanwhile, Johnson Smith insists that the island came under no pressure from any quarter during the recent OAS vote not to recognise the Venezuelan president.

“There was no specific request or pressure brought to bear or any quid pro quo sought in respect of the vote by Jamaica,” Johnson Smith told reporters, as she sought to dispel suggestions from various quarters, including the main opposition People’s National party (PNP) that regarded the vote as a betrayal of a longstanding friend in Venezuela.

But the foreign affairs minister said that Kingston’s vote was one of principle.

“I have not been lobbied in respect of support. Certainly in these matters, there are always general discussions with countries pressing their views and their perspectives with a view to ensuring that other member states vote with them, and that happens on all sides because that is part of the process.

“It (Jamaica’s vote at the OAS) was, as has been the case in global environment since we achieved independence that Jamaica votes in favour of human rights, democracy, law and order and the principle of non-intervention.

“These principles we hold in great regard and that the People’s National Party in particular Miss (Lisa) Hanna (PNP spokesperson on foreign affairs) seeks to continuously forget all but one, that is the principle of non-intervention, is of concern,” she added.

Maduro: Venezuela Sitting on 2nd Biggest Gold Reserve on Earth

Nov 5th 2018
Source:  Venezuela Analysis

President Nicolas Maduro described the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela as “crazy” and “criminal.”

Maduro ven sitting on gold.jpgPresident Nicolas Maduro and his economic team during the speech addressing
new measures to improve the economy. November 2, 2018.
(@PresidencialVen / Twitter)

President Nicolas Maduro and his economic team during the speech addressing new measures to improve the economy. November 2, 2018. (@PresidencialVen / Twitter)

President Nicolas Maduro announced a new set of measures in the Venezuelan gold industry to combat the U.S. imposed sanctions, which he described as “crazy” and “criminal,” accusing the North American country of blocking, and raising the price of food and medicine imports into the country.

The U.S. government announced a new set of sanctions against the Latin American country last week, potentially limiting their gold exports, as announced by the national security senior advisor John Bolton. The sanctions already prohibited institutions, business and anyone from giving any kind of financial support to the Bolivarian Revolution.

Maduro answered Bolton’s comments during a televised speech, saying Venezuela is currently certifying 32 gold fields. “Everything suggests that Venezuela will be the second biggest gold reserve on planet Earth,” said the President, adding that the country will do what’s necessary to get around the restrictions that are preventing medicine and food to enter the country.

“If we go out to purchase the required food… we end up paying 50, 60 or 80 percent more,” said Maduro. “These are crazy, schizophrenic, criminal sanctions… but we will never bow down. Venezuela will never surrender to North American imperialism.”

Maduro, along with his economic team, announced that Venezuela is installing 54 gold processing plants with new technology to reportedly avoid the polluting use of mercury. According to their predictions, the plants will bring in about US $ 5 billion in 2019.

Despite Economic War, Venezuelan Gov’t Delivers 2.3 Million Houses to the People

November 16 2018
Source:  TeleSUR

President Nicolas Maduro said in 2019 the government will deliver 700,000 more housing units, fulfilling the goal of 3 million. 

 

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on  Thursday that  the Venezuelan government had reached the milestone of building 2.3 million houses for working-class Venezuelans as part of the government’s Great Housing Mission Venezuela.

RELATED: Venezuela to Boost Gold Despite US Sanctions

From the Cuartel de la Montaña in the capital city of Caracas, the head of state led the delivery ceremony in the northeastern state of Lara and unveiled the historic milestone for the South American nation. “We reached the 2 million 300,000 houses and we are heading to 3 million homes,” he said.

Maduro also stressed the accomplishment was despite international attacks against the Venezuelan economy through economic and financial sanctions that affect Venezuelan imports and exports.

“Nothing and no one stopped us, nothing and no one will stop us, facing difficulties we continue to build the homeland,” Maduro told Venezuelans.

The president explained that by 2019 he will deliver some 700,000 additional homes, meeting the goal of three million. “Decent homes awarded to the people,” he said.

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The next homes will be assigned through the Ceret de la Patria, or Homeland Card, a state-regulated mechanism for accessing social programs, especially for Venezuelan who need it most.

In addition, Maduro announced the approval and expansion of the credits granted by the Popular Housing System for the improvement, construction, and acquisition of housing. President Maduro recalled that the 2018 Plan de la Patria, the government Plan with which he was elected in May, includes the commitment to build and deliver some five million decent homes.

Housing is an internationally-recognized human right.

Cuban President repeats Fidel’s historic visit to the Riverside Church

Source:  Granma
September 27 2018

by: Leticia Martínez Hernández ;  René Tamayo LeónAndrés Ferreiro Molero internet@granma.cu

Díaz-Canel and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro spoke at an event organized in solidarity with the two nations, in the emblematic New York church

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President Díaz-Canel repeated Fidel’s historic visit to the Riverside Church back in 2000. Photo: Leticia Martínez

Located in Upper Manhattan, New York, and bordering the renowned neighborhood of Harlem, the Riverside Church has been the scene of memorable speeches by numerous historic leaders, such as Martin Luther King, who on April 4, 1967, delivered his famous sermon entitled “A Time to Break Silence (Declaration Against the Vietnam War); and Nelson Mandela, shortly after his release in 1990.

Harlem became a symbol of solidarity with Cuba on September 18, 1960, when then Prime Minister, Fidel Castro Ruz, arrived in New York heading the Cuban delegation to participate in the 15th Session of the UN General Assembly. Due to the attacks of the Eisenhower administration, which forbade him from leaving the island of Manhattan, the Cuban leader was welcomed at Harlem’s Hotel Theresa, where he held meetings with Malcom X, and with the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, among other personalities.

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Doctors Joaquin Morante and Sitembile Sales, who trained at Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine, expressed their eternal gratitude to Cuba. Photo: Leticia Martínez

Forty years later, on September 8, 2000, the leader of the Cuban Revolution would repeat the visit to this New York neighborhood, on the occasion of the UN Millennium Summit,and deliver a speech at this same church.

 

 

DÍAZ-CANEL REPEATS FIDEL’S HISTORIC VISIT

The President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba received a warm welcome in the historic Riverside Church, where he was surrounded by friends of the island.

He was also joined by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Moros, who was welcomed with cries of “Long live Venezuela!”

Two young doctors, Joaquin Morante and Sitembile Sales, who trained at Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine, thanked Cuba for its solidarity and commitment to train young people from all over the world for the benefit of those most in need in their own countries. “We will follow the example of the Cuban people,” they noted.

Next to speak to the enthusiastic crowd was President Nicolás Maduro. “I came to New York, to the United Nations, to bring the truth of the Venezuelan people. I also wanted to return to this historic church in Harlem and reiterate our love and commitment, and share this moment with our brother Miguel Díaz-Canel and the people of Cuba,” he stated.

“We have been victims of immense imperialist aggression, but today I can say that the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela is still standing, alive and victorious,” Maduro concluded, to huge applause.

President Miguel Díaz-Canel began his speech by reiterating the fraternal relations and common struggle of Cuba and Venezuela. “Today at the United Nations, two sister peoples raised their voices. Venezuela denounced all the aggression to which it has been subjected and also ratified its decision to continue the Bolivian revolution, as a legacy faithful to Comandante Chávez,” he noted.

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Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Moros was welcomed with cries of “Long live Venezuela!” Photo: Leticia Martínez

“Cuba also raised its voice with Venezuela, to support Venezuela, to support Nicaragua, to support Puerto Rio, to support Latin America, to support the Palestinian and Saharawi people, and to support all the just causes of the world. And also to denounce, once again, the unjust blockade that, for almost 60 years, the United States has imposed on us,” he continued.

“For Maduro, for Venezuela, for the Cuban delegation, it is very emotive to be here with you, friends of Cuba and Venezuela here in New York. Miracles like these happen in this city only here, in the Riverside Church,” the Cuban President stated, before stressing that this meeting, in a cathedral of faith and solidarity, was a gathering of brothers and sisters, of friends, of equals.

“Fidel taught us that to cooperate with other exploited and poor peoples was always a political principle of the Revolution and a duty to humanity,” Díaz-Canel explained.

“Cuba also owes a lot to international solidarity and to the help of many friends and activists here in the United States, among whom are many Cuban residents,” he continued.

“The most recent demonstration of this was the fight for the return of the Five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters and, before that, the return of little Elian to Cuba,” the Cuban leader noted.

He stressed that bilateral relations with the United States continue to be characterized by the economic blockade, which constitutes an obstacle to the development of the Cuban people and has caused huge deprivation to Cuban families.

The solidarity event concluded with performances by local dance groups in honor of the guests.

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During his stay in New York Fidel participated in an act of solidarity with Cuba in the Riverside Church in Harlem, in Manhattan. Photo: Estudios Revolución