Maduro Slams Venezuelan Opposition for Refusing to Go to Municipal Elections

Maduro asserted that the government would continue "on the peaceful, democratic path," in a meeting with the Federal Council of Government 

The Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro has expressed concern over the three opposition parties among them Democratic Unity, MUD Coalition's decision to withdraw from the upcoming municipal elections tentatively scheduled for Dec.10 to elect regional leaders such as mayors.

RELATED: Venezuela Opposition Leader Capriles Threatens to Withdraw From MUD Coalition

Maduro asserted that the government would continue "on the peaceful, democratic path," in a meeting with the Federal Council of Government at the Miraflores Palace, Caracas. 

Further adding that the Bolivarian Revolution will continue along the electoral, peaceful and constituent path. 

"We will continue along this path regardless of the circumstances in the years to come," the president reiterated during a meeting with the recently elected governors, where he also reviewed the investment plans for each of the states. 

Stressing that Venezuelans "should feel proud of our electoral system," the head of state said Venezuela needed a democratic opposition that is respectful of the Constitution, the laws and that is willing to have a dialogue "for the great interests of the country."

Adding, that those who violate the law and go against the municipal elections in December, will see legal repercussions.  

"I declare myself in the battle against those who intend an insurrection of the Venezuelan electoral system," he said. 

Maduro urged the right-wing leaders to recognize Chavismo as the country's greatest political force after the government democratically gained 18 governorships during the mid-October elections.  

"Chavismo is a determining force of the political, social and electoral life of the country, those who do not recognize this in Venezuela are absent from reality," the Venezuelan president stressed. 

He stated that after the municipal elections the Federal Council of Government will be installed immediately for the planning and coordination of policies and actions "with all mayors who are elected." 

Things started to go downhill for MUD after it lost 18 out of its 23 legislative seats to Maduro's United Socialist Party of Venezuela, PSUV, during the mid-October regional elections, tipping the balance in the current government's favor. 

Fractions of the opposition accused Maduro's government of rigging the elections and using undemocratic means to gain votes. 

Saying that the "Federal Council of Government must be an instance of dialogue, understanding and permanent institutional action," he announced the council will be put to work immediately after the municipal election to plan and coordinate policies and actions with the elected mayors in December. 

 
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Venezuela’s Maduro Arrives to Cuba With Hurricane Aid

Hurricane Irma caused severe damage to Cuba’s agriculture, highway and electro-energetic systems.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has arrived to Cuba to show solidarity with the Caribbean island after Hurricane Irma damaged large sectors of the country.

RELATED: Hundreds of Cuban Cultural Centers Damaged by Hurricane Irma

Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores, who will be delivering aid packages to victims in person, were received by Cuban President Raul Castro and Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, as well as other ministers of state, at the Jose Marti International Airport.

"We came to Cuba to visit our sister country of Latin America and the Caribbean to help after Hurricane Irma" Maduro said after arriving to Havana.

"We are here offering our hand of solidarity to these people, who have suffered the devastating Hurricane Irma and now, with the effort of all Cubans, rises with dignity."

Hurricane Irma’s 290 kilometers-per-hour winds caused severe damage to Cuba’s agriculture, highway and electro-energetic systems, leaving vast areas without power for days.

Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Panama, Russia, Suriname and Vietnam are among other nations that sent resources to help those affected by the Category 5 hurricane. It left 10 dead and caused extensive damage to infrastructure and housing in the Caribbean region as a whole.

Cuba itself has dispatched 771 physicians to several Caribbean islands that were also affected by the storm's destruction.

Described by meteorologists as one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the Caribbean in a century, Hurricane Irma has caused at least 28 casualties and left a path of widespread destruction on several northeastern Caribbean Islands, especially Barbuda.

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Maduro, an Extraordinary Man

Nicolás Maduro is very far from being the dictator he is accused of by the "western" corporate octopi, media weapon of the fourth-generation war against Venezuela.

The expression has also been coined by some presidents with no shred of morals to judge the Venezuelan leader.

I know they lie because I have seen Maduro speak several times in Venezuela, at a meeting, or within his group of collaborators or at a dinner with the Chavista political-military Staff and a group of intellectuals and artists from several countries. The man I’ve seen is noble, modest, intelligent and eloquent forged the persuasion since his early years as a revolutionary activist and later union leader of Caracas Metro System, where he drove buses. He listens carefully, he is fraternal with his comrades and with the people, and very warm with the militants supporting Venezuela.

I’m sure anyone can think the same if they see him and observe carefully his speeches on television. I even made a test with two friends: a psychologist and another art critic, both academic with PhDs who don’t know Maduro in person and they have barely watched him in the news, politics is not among their priorities.

Of course, both are genuinely progressive and fully aware of the huge deceit the “media” throws at their audiences. I sent both the interview to Maduro on August 18th by the Venezuelan veteran journalist and revolutionary José Vicente Rangel. I asked my friends to watch it closely and with critical eye. They both agreed with few differences in the following: he is a good man and, besides his reach as a leader, it’s evident he cannot be a dictator.

I have no doubt that unprejudiced people who can watch his press conference three days later can say the same. I have taken these two appearances of the leader as an example for taking place at a decisive moment of his presidency and of the Bolivarian Revolution, in the turmoil of the work of the Constituent National Assembly (ANC for its acronym in Spanish), when contrary to the media version, we saw a winning leader, in full control of the situation, loaded with proposals and a revolutionary process capable of overcoming big losses, like the one suffered at the legislative elections of 2015, and stand up again proudly and put into practice at the exact moment such a risky initiative as the elections to the ANC.

The serenity, patience and confidence you see in Maduro in both documents, make the man greater who has just delivered an important defeat to the unconventional war against Venezuela lead by the United States and the far-rights. Their objective is to end the dangerous example the Bolivarian revolution is to the world. Not less important, to seize their oil and natural resources. Venezuela is at present the four scenarios where a world war can start if we can’t stop it on time with a great international mobilization.

Maduro intends to reestablish the dialogue with the opposition with the CELAC as background and he asks Pope Francisco that the Vatican resumes the mediation. The proposal is supported by the true spirit of Latin-Caribbean unity and integration which CELAC represents. Opposite to the servility shown by the OAS, an imperial creature. He speaks of economic, political, and moral recovery of the revolution as immediate objectives. The former baseball player and rocker and former chancellor remembers many times that Venezuela needs and wants peace but it’s well armed and equipped with a magnificent Russian system of antiaircraft defense. He assures that the electoral calendar will be met as the Constitution demands and he highlights that the election of governors will be in October and that all opposition parties candidates have already nominated. No honest man can deny that he is a democrat and a man of institutions.

Maduro already deserves greater respect and admiration for the single deed of having worthy and creatively led so far the direction of the revolution and the State passed onto him by the great Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelan people.

Amilkal Labañino valdés / Cubasi Translation Staff

Venezuela Rejects ‘Hostile’ US Sanctions, Vows Response

The new sanctions target Venezuela's financial sector and state-run oil company.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has responded to new U.S. sanctions against the South American country, vowing to carefully study its implications and respond swiftly.

RELATED: ‘Libya, Iraq Are Lessons’: Antigua Slams US Threats Against Venezuela

On Friday, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump imposed the new round of sanctions on Venezuela, targeting its financial sector.

The sanctions, according to Bloomberg, ban trades of Venezuelan debt and prevents the country's state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, from selling new bonds to U.S. citizens or financial groups. Trades of existing bonds commissioned by Caracas will also be barred.

Arreaza described the sanctions as "one of the worst aggressions against Venezuela in recent years."

"These types of sanctions show that the U.S. wants to rule over the continent. We will never accept this," Arreaza said.

"We are studying all measures that we can take in response to these sanctions."

The White House announced the measure in a press statement.

“In an effort to preserve itself, the Maduro dictatorship rewards and enriches corrupt officials in the government’s security apparatus by burdening future generations of Venezuelans with massively expensive debts,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

“These measures are carefully calibrated to deny the Maduro dictatorship a critical source of financing to maintain its illegitimate rule, protect the United States financial system from complicity in Venezuela’s corruption and in the impoverishment of the Venezuelan people, and allow for humanitarian assistance.”

The new round of sanctions include a 30-day transitional period, allowing certain debt trades to continue, the Miami Herald reported. They also include exemptions for transactions involving Citgo, the PDVSA's U.S. affiliate.

RELATED: Venezuela’s Maduro Speaks on Chavez, Trump and Opposition

Trump is reported to have signed an executive order approving the sanctions on Thursday.

"We don't agree with anything (President Nicolas) Maduro is doing," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a press conference Friday.

"We wanted to rely on the OAS (Organization of American States), but they weren't able to do anything. We tried an emergency meeting with the Security Council, but they didn't think it had anything to do with peace and security. Now we've placed sanctions and we'll see if there's anything else we can do."

Echoing Haley, U.S. National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster touted Trump's decision to "strongly punish the Venezuela regime."

"The U.S. won’t allow an illegitimate dictatorship to take hold in the hemisphere," McMaster said Friday.

"The Maduro dictatorship will not be able to accumulate debt that benefits corrupt insiders."

McMaster added that although no military options are being explored in the "near future," Washington is considering a "wide range of options" against Venezuela.

The decision comes days after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence promised to ramp up pressure on Venezuela in the wake of its July 30 National Constituent Assembly, ANC, election.

Pence met with several opposition leaders in Miami, capping off his tour of Latin America last week where he sought support against Maduro's govenrment. The meeting with 15 emigre political figures took place at a Catholic Church in Doral, well known as an enclave for Venezuelans opposed to the administrations of late President Hugo Chavez and Maduro.

RELATED: Maduro Calls on Trump to 'Stop Aggression Towards Venezuela'

It also comes weeks after Trump issued military threats against Venezuela.

“We have many options for Venezuela and by the way, I’m not going to rule out a military option,” Trump told reporters earlier this month in apparently impromptu remarks.

“A military operation and military option is certainly something that we could pursue.”

Last month, the United States imposed sanctions on 13 Venezuelan officials ahead of the ANC.

“As President Trump has made clear, the United States will not ignore the Maduro regime’s ongoing efforts to undermine democracy, freedom, and the rule of law,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a press release.

Among those sanctioned on Wednesday were National Electoral Council President Tibisay Lucena; Elias Jose Jaua Milano, the head of the Presidential Commission for the National Constituent Assembly; Tarek William Saab Halabi, Venezuela’s Ombudsman; Maria Iris Varela Rangel, member of Venezuela’s Presidential Commission for the National Constituent Assembly; and Nestor Luis Reverol Torres, Venezuela’s Minister of Interior, Justice, and Peace.

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Maduro Denounces US Support for Coup Plot in Venezuela

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro denounced that the alleged coup against the Bolivarian government of Venezuela responds to a script designed in the offices of the US Department of State.

In a speech delivered last night from Simón Bolívar Room of Miraflores Palace (Government House), Maduro said that Washington gave the green light and the approval for a coup process against Venezuela.

In his address, broadcast live on Venezolana de Televisión channel, the president exposed the nation plans of violence envisaged by groups of the opposition right to be executed in the coming hours.

Maduro commented that the communiqué issued yesterday by the US Department of State is 'a written script to generate violence, death, chaos.'

'Venezuela is not willing to endure coups of any kind ... We are going to fight and confront the coup plotters, and we are going to defeat them with the people and the Armed Forces united, and the Constitution in the hand,' he said.

He also denounced opposition MP Julio Borges, current president of the National Assembly (in contempt), for 'assuming the leadership of this coup that we are going to face and with all the constitutional and institutional firmness.'

'What Mr. Julio Borges has done today constitutes a crime against the Constitution and thus must be processed sooner rather than later by the national justice system, it must be prosecuted when he openly calls for a coup, for the division of the Armed Forces.'

Borges, a member of the right party Primero Justicia (Justice First), and linked to the most extremist wing of the Venezuelan opposition, publicly endorsed the April 2002 coup against President Hugo Chavez, and is involved in the neutralized conspiracy actions in February 2014, which left a toll of 43 dead people in Caracas.

Maduro emphasized that 'we cannot allow an open call to the coup d'etat, we have to fight it, we have the means and we must do it. The time has come for the fight, the time has come to define the destiny of the country, we are at crucial times to decide the fate of our people and I will be in the front.'

A massive march is planned for Wednesday in the center of Caracas, convened by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), to celebrate the 20 years of the Bolivarian electoral route, and the 207th anniversary of the cry for independence.

By its part, the opposition coalition Democratic Unity Table (MUD) also called for a protest march in the state of Miranda and in peripheral areas of the Capital District.

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5 Venezuela Opposition Leaders Who Took Part in 2002 Coup

As in 2002, right-wing figures continue to try to topple the democratically-elected government in Venezuela.

During Venezuela's April 11, 2002, right-wing coup attempt against popular President Hugo Chavez, main figures who now lead the opposition were not mere bystanders as the coup-leaders led an attack on the presidential palace leading to the deaths of dozens, squashed rights, attacked ministers and annulled all legislation.

teleSUR looks at five current key opposition leaders who participated in the failed coup.

1. Henrique Capriles Radonski

Co-founder of right-wing Primero Justicia — a party set up with funding from the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy and the International Republican Institute — Capriles was mayor of the upper-class district of Baruta in Caracas during the April 2002 failed coup against Chavez.

ANALYSIS: How Venezuelans and Hugo Chavez Defeated a Right Wing Coup

When a violent group of protestors tried to forcefully enter the Cuban embassy, located within the municipality, as they believed that Bolivarian leaders were hiding inside, Capriles joined them and jumped over the fence — violating diplomatic territory.

After a confrontation with Cuban diplomatic staff, Capriles told the crowd he could not find out whether Bolivarian state officials were hiding, sparking further violence against the embassy. The embassy’s electricity and water supply were cut off, windows smashed and diplomatic cars attacked.

2. Leopoldo Lopez

In April 2002, Lopez, then mayor of the wealthy Caracas district of Chacao, was among those who led an opposition march which was re-routed toward the Miraflores Palace, where thousands of Chavez supporters were also demonstrating. Dozens of people were killed in the ensuing clashes, which have been shown to be a premeditated, orchestrated massacre to justify the coup and kidnapping of President Chavez.

IN DEPTH: Anniversary of Venezuela's 2002 Coup

In the days that followed, Lopez participated in a witch hunt for officials from the Chavez government, including the illegal detention of Minister of Interior and Justice Ramon Rodriguez Chacin. It is astonishing to recall that Lopez did this while still occupying the office of mayor.

Lopez also led the 2014 violent guarimbas, for which he is serving a sentence of almost 14 years, after being convicted of crimes of public instigation, property damage, and arson.

3. Henry Ramos Allup

The former president of the national assembly is closely associated with the old guard of politicians, hailing from the Democratic Action party, one of two parties that would alternate power for 40 years between 1958-1998 after having signed a formal agreement, the “Punto Fijo” pact.

Henry Ramos Allup was one of the leaders of the 2002 coup. Videos show him running from the Miraflores presidential palace before Chavez’s return. In 2011, he revealed in an interview with Ciudad CCS that the executive order that set up the “de facto” government was prepared one week before the coup against Chavez and that the owners of the mainstream media were also directly involved in covering the event.

ANALYSIS: Venezuela on April 11: 2002 Coup to 2015 Economic War

Shortly after being elected to office on Dec. 6, 2015, Ramos Allup criticized the 1999 constitution, calling it a “disaster,” and signaling his desire to have it reformed. He praised the 1961 constitution that allowed only two parties to govern as “civilized.”

Ramos Allup has stated that the main priority of the opposition national assembly is “a change of government,” referring to the stated goal of right-wing legislators to remove President Nicolas Maduro from power.

4. Maria Corina Machado

Machado, just like Capriles Radonski and Lopez comes from Venezuela’s business elite and was vice president of right-wing party Sumate and an opposition lawmaker when the coup against Chavez occurred.

Machado signed the decree evoked by Ramos Allup, which broke the constitutional order and dissolved state institutions for two days.

OPINION: The 2002 Coup: Destabilization and Revolution in Today’s Venezuela

Machado is still allegedly devising plans to undermine the Venezuelan government, according to Venezuelan investigative journalist Eva Golinger, in 2013 she met USAID official Mark Feierstein, along with other leading figures of the Venezuelan opposition.

She was also among the most prominent promoters of the 2014 opposition violence that claimed the lives of 43 people.

5. Julio Borges

A lawmaker since 2000, Borges founded the right-wing Justice First party and currently leads the opposition MUD coalition. He was chosen as the new president of the national assembly for the 2017 session, even though his tenure is not recognized by the Supreme Court.

After the 2002 coup attempt against Chavez, Borges demanded the entire government resign and played a major role in the subsequent campaign for a recall referendum — which Chavez won.

ANALYSIS: How the US Funds Dissent against Latin American Governments

Borges was again elected to the national assembly in 2015, where he continued to play a major role in attempts to overthrow Maduro’s government. In February 2015, Air Force General Osvaldo Hernandez, who was accused of participating in a plot to launch a coup against Maduro, said Borges was involved in the plot as well.

In October 2016, Borges led the failed — and constitutionally illegal — initiative to put Maduro on trial, arguing that the democratically-elected president had staged a “coup,” consistently appealing to the Washington-based Organization of American States to intervene in Venezuela.  

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Venezuela's Maduro to Mexico: We're Not Your Enemy. The US Is

"I extend my hand so that together we can fight for solidarity and support for all Mexican migrants in the United States," Maduro said.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday night called on his Mexican counterpart Enrique Peña Nieto to stop supporting aggressive measures against the South American country.

RELATED: Venezuelans Respond to OAS with Massive March

Commenting on attempts by the Organization of American States, OAS, to revoke Venezuela's membership, Maduro said Nieto's administration should instead fight the policies of the U.S. government.

"I extend my hand, President (Enrique) Peña Nieto, so that together we can fight for solidarity and support for all Mexican migrants in the United States," Maduro said at a televised meeting,

"We should denounce the wall that Washington wants to build on the border of both countries."

On Tuesday, the OAS organized a meeting aimed at suspending Venezuela from the regional organization for alleged "human rights abuses."

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During the meeting, Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray Caso expressed "concern" about Venezuela's political and economic situation. Videgaray, siding with the Canada and the U.S., sponsored calls for regime change against Maduro's democratically-elected government.

The countries sponsoring the efforts to expel Venezuela also include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.

Videgaray had urged his regional counterparts "to not remain indifferent," adding that the bloc wants to "restore democratic normalcy," as reported by Expansion, a CNN partner.

ANALYSIS: Chavez' Legacy in Venezuela: Transforming Millions of Lives

When Mexico announced plans last week to support regime change in Venezuela, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez described Videgaray's actions as "servile" to U.S. imperialism.

"Chancellor Caso builds walls with Latin America instead of defending and serving the sovereign interests and rights of its people," Rodriguez posted on Twitter Thursday.

"He attacked Venezuela to ingratiate himself with his imperial owners. He believes that the Mexican people will forget their betrayal."

A third of the 35 OAS member countries would need to vote on applying the charter to trigger Venezuela's suspension. The vote, however, has not yet taken place.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio threatened dissenting countries that if they did not vote in favor of expelling Venezuela by invoking the Democratic Charter, it would be difficult to defend the continuation of U.S. aid to their people.

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Venezuela Rejects OAS Intervention Report

Caracas- Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro repudiated the report on the nation presented by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, that ''ignores the institutional processes and principles of the organization.''

According to the local media, the head of state described today the document presented by the Uruguayan politician as illegitimate and illegal, and considered that its sole purpose was to destabilize the Bolivarian Revolution and promote foreign intervention in the South American nation.

Almagro, a well-known enemy of the Venezuelan people, has forged false assumptions against the Republic in order to accentuate the economic war against our society, said the statement published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

His performance as the head of the OAS has exceeded his powers and has been marked by abuse of power, guided by his complicity with the coup, extremist and antidemocratic opposition in Venezuela, the text argues.

It is the despicable hatred of converts, it says, what moves his actions, his aberrant writings will be lost in the night of history as an example of the extent to which a bent person is capable of destroying the function of an organism.

It also regrets that Almagro 'revives the darkest pages of the interventionist and coup history of the OAS, by imposing mechanisms that flagrantly violate Venezuela's legal and constitutional order and the OAS Charter, its fundamental principles and rigorous norms which regulate their performance.'

The Foreign Ministers of the Hemisphere, meeting at the OAS General Assembly on June 15, 2016, had noted with concern such irregularities, and decided to refer the Permanent Council to review its action, the president said.

He also accuses Almagro of leading 'the hemispheric concert of the fascist right that harasses, and aggressively attacks Venezuela, without scruple or ethics, characterized by the anti-legal and fraudulent forging of false positives against our sacred homeland.'

Venezuela will take legal action against the Secretary of the OAS, said Maduro, who also reaffirmed that 'conspiracy, miserable and insurrectionary action' promoted from that organization will not stop the country and the people on their way to the bright future marked by the Liberators.

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