As nations turn on Maduro, Venezuela leader parades with military
admin • January 28, 2019 • 1747
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
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)
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Tuesday made his strongest call yet to the military to help him oust President Nicolas Maduro, but there were no concrete signs of defection from the armed forces leadership.
Tens of thousands of people marched in Caracas in support of Guaido, clashing with riot police along the main Francisco Fajardo thoroughfare. A National Guard armoured car slammed into protesters who were throwing stones and hitting the vehicle.
Seventy-eight people were injured in the incidents, most of them hit with pellets or rubber bullets, said Doctor Maggi Santi of the Salud Chacao health centre in Caracas. None of the injuries were life-threatening, he added.
Early on Tuesday, several dozen armed troops accompanying Guaido clashed with soldiers supporting Maduro at a rally in Caracas, and large anti-government protests in the streets turned violent. But by Tuesday afternoon an uneasy peace had returned and there was no indication that the opposition planned to take power through military force.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN that “as we understand it” Maduro had been ready to depart for socialist ally Cuba, but had been persuaded to stay by Russia, which has also been a steadfast supporter.
Maduro did not make a formal speech on Tuesday but said on Twitter: “Nerves of steel! I call for maximum popular mobilisation to assure the victory of peace. We will win!” He said he had spoken with military leaders and that they had shown him “their total loyalty.”
Guaido, the leader of the National Assembly, invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency in January, arguing that Maduro’s re-election in 2018 was illegitimate. But Maduro has held on, despite economic chaos, most Western countries backing Guaido, increased U.S. sanctions, and huge protests.
Venezuela is mired in a deep economic crisis despite its vast oil reserves. Shortages of food and medicine have prompted more than 3 million Venezuelans to emigrate in recent years. (REUTERS)
Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaido, said on Monday (February 11) his team had delivered a first cargo of the humanitarian aid that has become a flashpoint in his tussle with President Nicolas Maduro, without specifying how it had received it.
Guaido, who has been recognized by most Western nations as Venezuela’s legitimate president over the past month, tweeted a photo of himself surrounded by stacks of white pots of vitamin and nutritional supplements. He did not say from where or whom they came.
Venezuela’s opposition has been coordinating an effort by Western nations, companies and organizations to deliver aid to Venezuela where malnutrition and preventable disease have proliferated in recent years as the economy has nosedived.
Maduro has said this is part of a U.S.-orchestrated strategy to undermine and ultimately overthrow him. He says he will not allow this “show.”
Maduro on Monday launched a government programme to consolidate Venezuela’s identity, aiming to improve exports. Under the slogan “Venezuela open to the future,” it aims to enhance the tourist, commercial, economic and advertising activities of the country.
The United States last month recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader after he declared himself president. Guaido argued Maduro’s re-election last year was a sham. The United States has since been joined by a majority of Western nations. — Reuters
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