Latin America

‘US losing influence in Latin America’

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An analyst says Venezuela’s first post-Chavez presidential election is of great significance to the United States as the polls will affect the situation of the US in the whole region as well as the entire world.

Venezuela’s electoral authority has declared Nicolas Maduro the winner of the presidential election with 50.66 percent of the votes against 49.06 percent for his rival Henrique Capriles.

The National Electoral Council said on Monday that more than 99 percent of the ballots had been counted and the results were “irreversible.” The council also asked the people and the opposition to respect the outcome of the polls.

Opinion polls had given Maduro leads ranging between 10 and 20 points. However, the last survey carried out by the Caracas-based Datanalisis polling firm gave him a narrower 9.7-point edge last week.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Latin America expert, Isaac Bigio in London to further discuss this issue.

What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: How important are these elections?

Isaac Bigio Well, I think they are very important elections because Venezuela plays quite a significant role in Latin America.

Venezuela has been able to organize in the last ten years a coalition of countries which are critical of the United States.It is a driving force in the Western hemisphere in opposition to the United States and if Maduro can win the election he will consolidate the Venezuela axis with Cuba and Nicaragua, Bolivia and also the fact that Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and other countries in the region are a little bit independent from the United States.

If Maduro lost the election it would lead Venezuela to a change in the direction of the USA and a change that will affect the entire region and even the situation of the United States in the entire world.

Press TV: Sir throughout this election campaign we’ve heard of plots to destabilize the country; we’ve heard of the United States interference and now we recently heard of Columbia and paramilitaries trying to disrupt the elections and to carry out attacks etcetera.

What exactly is going on there? Do you think that there are efforts from other countries to destabilize Venezuela?

Isaac Bigio: Well, there is always a history of the destabilization of the Venezuela regime. Capriles was involved in the coup d’état that tried to overthrow Chavez a decade ago. He entered the Cuban embassy.

Maduro has said that Chavez was murdered by the United States secret services and it is very clear that the USA has financed the opposition against Chavez. However at the moment there is not a plot or a coup organized by the USA but it could change in the future.

Press TV: Are you confident that Nicholas Maduro will be able to carry on Chavez’s form of socialism?

Isaac Bigio: Well, I think it’s the most likely scenario that Maduro is going to win the elections. I don’t know what is going to happen in the next six years but a lot depends on the international price of oil and the fact that Venezuela will have an important budget to cover all their social programs.

I think that if this is going to fail, the oil price is going to drop and if Latin America is going to enter another recession, the situation with Maduro could heavily change and Venezuela could turn to the right but at the moment it seems that the Venezuelan people are following the paths of Chavez and of the nationalists and the USA regime which tried to redistribute the richness of the country in between the population for helping the poor people.

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