Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro says his country has once and for all gotten rid of the US oppression, warning that any effort to meddle in the country’s affairs would not be tolerated by Venezuelans.
Maduro, who spoke in an 85-minute interview with Bloomberg Television on Friday, downplayed US economic sanctions against his country, noting that his government has introduced a “war economy” to reduce the impact of US bans on the South American nation.
“Sooner rather than later, the bolivar will once again occupy a strong and preponderant role in the economic and commercial life of the country,” he said.
In another part of his interview, Maduro insisted that his government will not budge “if the US continues to hold a proverbial gun to his head.”
Any demands for changes in domestic policy are “game over,” the Venezuelan president warned.
“No country in the world -- no country, and even less Venezuela -- is willing to kneel down and betray its legacy,” Maduro emphasized.
He dismissed claims by American officials that Caracas has become isolated in the world following its breaking away from the US influence, saying that his country has only broken free of “irrational, extremist, and cruel” US oppression.
The Venezuelan president added that now, Russia, China, Iran, and Cuba are his country’s allies while his domestic opposition is impotent.
“If Venezuela suffers from a bad image,” Maduro said, it was because of a well-funded campaign to demonize him and his socialist government.
'Venezuela to become land of opportunities'
Elsewhere in his interview, Maduro slammed the cruel sanctions imposed on his country by the United States, which have practically deprived the country of its main sources of revenue amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“If Venezuela can’t produce oil and sell it, can’t produce and sell its gold, can’t produce and sell its bauxite, can’t produce iron, etcetera, and can’t earn revenue in the international market, how is it supposed to pay the holders of Venezuelan bonds?” Maduro, 58, said, adding, “This world has to change. This situation has to change.”
Maduro hopes a deal to relieve the sanctions will open the floodgates to foreign investment, create jobs, and reduce misery. It might even assure his legacy as the torchbearer of Chavismo, Venezuela’s peculiar brand of left-wing nationalism.
“Venezuela is going to become the land of opportunities,” Maduro said, noting, “I’m inviting US investors so they don’t get left behind.”
Venezuela descended into political turmoil after opposition figure Juan Guaidó, former president of the National Assembly, unilaterally declared himself “interim president” in January 2019, arguing that Maduro's reelection in 2018 was fraudulent.
With Washington’s greenlight and help from a small number of rogue soldiers, Guaidó later launched a botched putsch against the elected government.
The Trump administration recognized Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela and publicly pursued a “regime change” policy against Maduro.
The Biden administration has reaffirmed US recognition of Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president and has ruled out negotiations with Maduro anytime soon.
Washington has imposed several rounds of crippling sanctions against the oil-rich Latin American country aimed at ousting Maduro and replacing him with Guaido.
The sanctions, which include illegal confiscation of Venezuelan assets abroad and an economic blockade, have caused enormous suffering for millions of people in the country.