Venezuela raps satanic US comments on military ouster of President Maduro
Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino has decried US comments about the possibility of the military ouster of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in a coup d’etat.
Speaking during a broadcast on state television on Friday, Padrino said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s five-nation Latin America tour was seeking a regional “intervention” against the socialist government.
He added that Washington seeks to undermine democracy in Latin America and return to the days of “imperialism.”
“Every day he distances himself more from diplomacy to enter into warmongering. You have no moral authority,” said Padrino, flanked by armed forces’ top brass who swore loyalty to Maduro.
“This man… will try to persuade Latin America governments to intervene in Venezuela. That’s a publicity stunt,” he added and held US President Donald Trump’s sanctions liable for economic hardship in Venezuela.
In a wide-ranging speech at the University of Texas on Thursday ahead of his Latin America tour, Tillerson raised the prospect of a Venezuelan military coup to topple President Maduro.
Tillerson claimed the United States was not trying to implement a policy of “regime change” in Venezuela but advised Maduro to leave power on his own.
The US official predicted there would be some kind of change in Venezuela and insisted the United States wanted it to be a peaceful one.
“If the kitchen gets a little too hot for him, I am sure that he’s got some friends over in Cuba that could give him a nice hacienda on the beach and he could have a nice life over there,” Tillerson said, referring to Maduro’s close ties with Cuba’s government.
The 55-year-old Maduro, who came to power after the late Hugo Chavez in 2013, has survived massive anti-government protests during the past two years.
Critics blame him for destroying the economy of the once-prosperous country, causing an acute economic crisis and shortages of basic commodities such as foodstuffs. Opponents also accuse Maduro of turning the Latin American country into a dictatorship and seeking to consolidate power for his United Socialist Party of Venezuela.
The government claims the right-wing opposition is incited by the US to topple his socialist government, hobble the country’s economy, and plunder its oil wealth. Authorities blame foreign sanctions, led by Washington, for the food and medicine shortages in the country. Venezuela now has the highest inflation rate in the world.
Last year, Trump slapped bans on Maduro, labeling him “a dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people.”
In January, Maduro started his campaign for another term in office with fierce rhetoric against the United States’ meddlesome behavior toward his country, saying the US president is “not the boss of Venezuela.”
Speaking at a campaign rally in the capital, Caracas, Maduro said, “The people rule in Venezuela, not empires. I’m ready… We’re going to win big.”