Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called on opposition leader Juan Guaido not to cause more harm to the country and abandon his current strategy. Maduro made this statement in an interview with the Spanish television channel la Sexta on Sunday.
Maduro said that he is for dialogue with the opposition and addressing to Guaido called on him to “think well about what he is doing.”
“Let him not do more harm to the country, let him give up the coup strategy,” the head of state noted. “If he (Guaido – TASS) wants to contribute something, let him sit at the table [for conversation] face to face.”
“In Venezuela, there is only one president, who has the authority and economic, institutional and other powers,” said Maduro.
Commenting on the requirement of a number of EU countries to announce the presidential elections, the head of state recalled that the expression of will is scheduled for 2024.
“I think Venezuela needs parliamentary elections,” he added. “Let Europe deal with its own problems. Why should the EU dictate political norms to the country?” Maduro said.
“We are the victims of the campaign in which the US turned us into the number one enemy,” the president stressed.
“We believe in diplomacy, in understanding; I have made a thousand proposals to the US,” he said, urging US President Donald Trump not to make mistakes with Venezuela.
“I like saying: if you want peace, get ready to protect it. We are getting ready. Only if the American army attacks us, we will have to defend ourselves,” the president said.
“The worst alternative is war, and we will not start it,” he added.
When asked what he would say if he was facing Russian President Vladimir Putin, Maduro answered:
“What I always say to him, thank you for your friendship, for your support.”
Situation in Venezuela
On January 23, the leader of Venezuela’s opposition Juan Guaido, whose appointment as parliamentary speaker had been annulled by the Supreme Court two days before that, declared himself as acting president. On the same day, the United States recognized him as acting head of state. So did the Lima Group countries except for Mexico, the Organization of American States, and a number of other countries. On January 28, Washington imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s oil company PDVSA and put some of Venezuela’s assets in US banks under Guaido’s control.
Some European countries, including Britain, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and France on January 26 said they would recognize Guaido as interim president, if Maduro refused to call an early election within eight days. Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey came out in Maduro’s support. The UN secretary-general urged a dialogue for resolving the crisis.