Nicolas Maduro Wins Venezuelan Presidential Elections

President and candidate Nicolas Maduro won the Sunday elections.

Nicolas Maduro won the Venezuelan presidential elections Sunday, gaining a second presidential term for six years with more than 5.8 million votes, the National Electoral Council (CNE) announced Sunday night.

With 92.6 percent of the votes counted, Maduro had 5.8 million votes, while his closest rival, former governor Henri Falcón getting 1.8 million votes, said CNE President Tibisay Lucena who added that in total, 8.6 million Venezuelans voted, out of an electoral registry of 20.5 million people.

"We are the force of history turned into popular victory," Maduro told his supporters after the CNE announcement. "Thank you to facing so many aggressions and lies, thank you for overcoming it, and for making me president of Venezuela for the next term."

The president further thanked the Venezuelan people for their support and voting him into a second term with 68 percent of the vote. "The people in Venezuela has to be respected."

As results came out, Maduro supporters let off fireworks in poor Caracas neighborhoods and danced to Latin pop around the downtown Miraflores presidential palace. He took 5.8 million votes, versus 1.8 for his nearest rival Henri Falcon, the board said.

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Venezuela, Cuba Host First Meeting Since Miguel Diaz-Canel Elected President

Maduro has pledged to strengthen the brotherhood between the two countries.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro became the first international leader to pay an official state visit to Cuba following the election of Miguel Diaz-Canel to the office of president. 

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Maduro Congratulates Cuba, President Díaz-Canel

Maduro, who arrived in Havana Friday, has pledged to strengthen the brotherhood between the two countries.

"I am leaving for Cuba to make a working visit, a fellowship visit to give a hug of solidarity, of support, of unity to the new President of the Council of State and Minister of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel. We will meet to visualize the future and above all ratify the union between Cuba and Venezuela," said Maduro before departing to Cuba.

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Maduro Announces Implementation of People's Defense System

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said today that in 2018 the people's defense system for peace will be implemented.

This system, along with the people's militias, encourage the participation of the people in favor of peace, something that according to specialists, is a concern for some sectors in the United States that promote an armed aggression against Venezuela.

During the ceremony of the year-end celebration of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (Fanb) at the Ministry of Defense, Maduro said that 2017 was a heroic year, in which Venezuela demonstrated that 'it is capable and that no one will be able to defeat us'.

Maduro also pointed out that 2017 was the year of the unity against oligarchy, as well as the 'triumph of peace over the oligarchic guarimba, it was the year of the people's unity in the Bolivarian National Armed Force, of farmers and workers, a Fanb made up of people. A year of victory for peace.'

He also urged Fanb to develop in 2018 a 'bold deployment and training plan to tune our defensive capacity, our people, and keep on winning respect for our country'.

He said that U.S. imperialism and the Government of U.S. President Donald Trump reached a dangerous point of despair for their failures in 2017, attempting to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution, so he urged the Venezuelan people not to lower their guard.

Maduro also tackled the smuggling affecting the country and urged Fanb to strengthen the fight against that scourge that affects the population.

'They are taking basic products and diamonds, gold, Venezuela's mineral wealth. We are going to make decisions. I expect recommendations to implement them during the first days of January,' he said.

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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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