As nations turn on Maduro, Venezuela leader parades with military

admin   •   January 28, 2019   •   1930

President Nicolas Maduro with military for exercises in Carabobo, Venezuela on January 27, 2019 | Reuters

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro oversaw a display of the army’s Russian hardware on Sunday (January 27), with anti-aircraft flak and tank rounds pounding a hillside to show military force and loyalty in the face of an international ultimatum to call fresh elections.

Maduro, 56, is confronting an unprecedented challenge to his authority after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president citing a fraudulent election. Guaido has won wide international support and offers amnesty to soldiers who join him. On Sunday, Israel joined the countries backing the 35-year-old leader.

Early on Sunday, flanked by Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino, Maduro watched a platoon of soldiers release volleys of rocket-propelled grenades, machine gun anti-aircraft fire and tank rounds at hillside targets, the Russian ordnance kicking up clouds of dust at the Fort of Paramacay, an armoured vehicle base.

Maduro said the display showed the world he has the backing of the military, and that Venezuela’s armed forces are ready to defend the country. Maduro says Guaido is taking part in a coup directed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s hardline policy advisers, who include Cold War veterans John Bolton and Elliott Abrams.

Venezuela has sunk into turmoil under Maduro with food shortages and protests amid an economic and political crisis that has sparked mass emigration and inflation that is seen rising to 10 million percent this year.

Britain, Germany, France and Spain all said they would recognise Guaido if Maduro failed to call fresh elections within eight days, an ultimatum Russia said was “absurd” and the Venezuelan foreign minister called “childlike.”

Washington, Canada, most Latin American nations and many European states say Maduro stole his second-term election win last May. The former bus driver and union leader cruised to victory after blocking the main opposition candidates from running. Turnout was low. — Reuters

Fire destroys most voting machines in Venezuela’s main elections warehouse

UNTV News   •   March 9, 2020

Venezuela’s elections council said on Sunday (March 8) that a fire over the weekend destroyed most of the voting machines stored in its main warehouse in the capital, Caracas, potentially complicating parliamentary elections scheduled for this year.

Nearly 50,000 voting machines and almost 600 computers went up in flames as a result of the fire that broke out on Saturday (March 7), said elections council chief Tibisay Lucena.

She did not elaborate on how many voting machines were still available for use, or how the incident would affect future elections. Lucena said she had asked state prosecutors to look into the cause of the blaze, which did not cause any injuries.

The South American country’s elections have come under heavy criticism since President Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election was widely dismissed as rigged in his favour, leading dozens of governments around the world to disavow his government in 2019.t.

Venezuela holds elections this year for parliament, which is currently controlled by the opposition. Maduro’s adversaries are demanding that the country instead hold a new presidential election, and have not yet said whether they will participate in the legislative election. A date for that vote has not been set. (REUTERS / VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT TV)

(Production: Efrain Otero, Johnny Carvajal, Paul Vieira)

Venezuela’s Maduro accuses opposition, US of plotting extremist attack

Robie de Guzman   •   December 17, 2019

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro seen at an event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the country’s constitution in Caracas, Venezuela, Dec. 15, 2019. EFE-EPA/MIGUEL GUTIERREZ

Caracas – Venezuela’s president said Sunday that arrest warrants had been issued against those involved in an allegedly foiled extremist conspiratorial attack against his troops, which he accused opposition leaders and the United States of spearheading.

Nicolas Maduro spoke at the National Assembly and said the operation, which he claimed was uncovered Saturday and planned by leaders Juan Guaido and Leopoldo Lopez as well as the US, was aimed at attacking military outposts countrywide and averted by his intelligence team.

“On Friday evening, judicial and prosecutorial orders were issued to capture those involved in this bloody conspiracy,” Maduro said as he took part in a ceremony at the assembly, comprised only of Chavez supporters, to commemorate the Venezuelan Constitution’s 20th anniversary.

“Leopoldo Lopez, a fascist, psychopathic monster, who in 20 years has been behind all coup attempts and violent acts. He carries violence in his blood. He is a mental patient of violence… and also a thief,” the leader said during the celebration.

The alleged conspiracy was announced by Jorge Rodriguez, Communications Minister, who reported security agencies had dismantled an extremist plan headed by Lopez, Guaido and the Colombian Government headed by Ivan Duque. Fearing arrest, Lopez has since May sought refuge at the Spanish ambassador’s residence in Caracas.

According to Rodriguez, the operation’s participants intended to attack two military headquarters and carry out violent actions in six states.

Maduro said the alleged attacks were going to take place “in several cities in the country to cause a military and public bloodbath, as well as to shadow and shower Christmas and the festivities of the Venezuela’s people this 2019 in blood.”

He said that they managed to detect and stop the plan “thanks to civil, police and military cooperation.”

Maduro also said the foreign ministry received a Friday call from James Story, the Chargé d’Affaires for the Venezuela Affairs Unit at the US Virtual Embassy, whom Maduro accused of being the “conspiracy officer.”

According to the Venezuelan leader, Story called the vice-minister, Carlos Ron, during a confusing Friday incident involving substitute legislator Yanet Fermin, also accused by Rodriguez of being involved in the plot. He said several police officers appeared at her home but that she was finally not arrested. EFE-EPA

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Venezuela doesn’t want war but peace: Maduro

UNTV News   •   September 6, 2019

President Nicolas Maduro 

Venezuela wants peace instead of wars, said President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday in an exclusive interview with the China Central Television (CCTV).

His remarks came amid escalating tensions at the Venezuela-Colombia border that started in February when Venezuela cut its diplomatic and political relations with Colombia.

He said he placed the nation’s army on an orange alert on Tuesday to safeguard domestic peace rather than wage war against other countries.

“I issued an orange alert to mobilize the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) for military drills from September 10 to 28, because we want neither armed conflicts, nor wars. We want peace, and any country that is eager for peace should prepare to defend itself,” the president said.

In response to the domestic political crisis, Maduro said the international community is making efforts to help the Venezuelan government resume dialogues with the opposition led by Juan Guaido, and the Venezuelan government is having extensive contacts with other oppositions in the meanwhile.

“We will continue our dialogue with all the options open for the dialogue,” he said.

When talking about the recent petition signature events organized by the Venezuelan people to oppose U.S. sanctions, Maduro said what the United States is doing is nothing but interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs.

He said that U.S. President Donald Trump covets resources in Venezuela and touts “Monroe Doctrine”, a 19th century strategy to rule Latin America for Washington’s political and economic purposes.

“The sanctions against Venezuela imposed by the Trump administration are totally unjustified. They’re interventionist policies seeking subversion. The United States is trying to control our country. Latin America belongs to Latin Americans, but Americans consider they’re the only Latin Americans, and all countries in South America, Central America and Latin America should serve their interests, business and power of the United States,” Maduro said. (REUTERS)

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