Maduro calls Bolsonaro ‘modern-day Hitler’ after Brazil lends support to opposition leader

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has called right-wing Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro “a Hitler of the modern era.” Brazil openly backs the Venezuelan opposition and denounced Maduro’s inauguration last week as illegitimate.

The left-wing Venezuelan leader and Bolsonaro, who declared Brazil “liberated” from socialism, have not been on the best of terms, trading verbal blows and exchanging insults since Bolsonaro’s election in October.

Addressing members of his country’s Constituent Assembly on Monday, Maduro said that Brazil was “in the hands of a fascist.”

“Bolsonaro is a modern-day Hitler. He is. What he doesn't have is courage and his own decisions because he’s the puppet of a sect,” Maduro said. The Venezuelan leader was referring to evangelical Christians, a section of the electorate in which Bolsonaro, himself a Catholic, commands strong support.   

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The Constituent Assembly, called by Maduro to solve a deepening political crisis and draft a new constitution, replaced the opposition-controlled National Assembly as the country’s supreme power in August 2017. Critics of the Maduro government, both in Latin America and the US, denounced the body’s election, mostly ignored by the opposition, as a power grab. Maduro’s re-election in May was branded “illegitimate” and “undemocratic” by the US as well and saw a relatively low turnout, amid opposition calls to boycott the “fraudulent” vote.

Last week, Maduro was sworn in for a second term before the Supreme Court and not the National Assembly, which spawned a new wave of condemnation and criticism from the West and a dozen Latin American nations, including Brazil, which has been cozying up to the US lately.

Maduro, however, received support from Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua, whose leaders attended the inauguration ceremony, snubbed by the majority of its neighbors.

The National Assembly’s President, Juan Guaidó, declared a state of emergency, calling the parliament Venezuela’s “only real and legitimate power” while urging the army and foreign allies to help reclaim it.

In a statement on Friday, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said that it “welcomes” Guaidó's intention to assume presidential powers, slamming Maduro's new term as “illegitimate.”

Maduro and Bolsonaro have not minced words when calling each other names. While Bolsonaro refers to his Venezuelan counterpart as nothing less than “dictator,” Maduro dubbed the right-wing “tropical Trump” a “fascist” when he was being vested with presidential authority before the Supreme Court.

The new Brazilian government has made it clear that it would like to see Maduro ousted. In December, Brazil's now foreign minister Ernesto Araújo tweeted that “all of the world’s countries must stop supporting him and come together to liberate Venezuela.”

Meanwhile, Bolsonaro, who has elicited praise from US officials and exchanged courtesies with US President Donald Trump on Twitter, recently announced that he is open to the idea of hosting a US military base in Brazil, while also expressing concerns over joint military exercises between Venezuela and Russia.

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Venezuela Rejects US Attempted Coup and 'Puppet Government'

The puppet government would've catered to US transnational corporations, the Foreign Ministry said.

The Venezuelan state is accusing Washington of promoting a coup d’etat by imposing a “puppet government” in the nation, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

RELATED: Venezuela: Lawmaker Juan Guaido Released, Rogue Officers Fired

"The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela denounces once again the attempts by the supremacist elite that controls the White House to promote a coup in Venezuela, attacking the Constitution, Democracy and Peace in the country," the ministry said in a statement.

The Bolivarian state denounced the conspiracy lead by U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton and his attempts to forcefully impose a puppet government- like in 2002- which caters to US transnational corporations and rejects both the Constitution and the popular will.

"While the Constitutional President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, urges dialogue with respect between countries, Bolton, in turn, embraces the script of the coup-driven adventures, historically inserted in the imperialist agenda," the statement said.

The greatest threat to the security of Venezuelans is the criminal blockade imposed by the United States, the letter said, calling for an end of all “economic and diplomatic aggression.”

Maduro who was officially inaugurated on Thursday for the second time, denounced the U.S. interventionist attitudes, saying "the imperial attack against Venezuela is part of a regional dispute that promotes imperialism for the reconquest of what they see as their backyard.”

In its statement, the Foreign Ministry assured that, “No matter how powerful the pressures, threats, and attacks, the Bolivarian Government will never give in to the integral defense of the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people.

“Venezuela will use all its political, moral and constitutional power to defeat imperialist aggression in all its forms,” the letter said.

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Venezuela: Maduro Seeks UN Support in National Dialogue

"I hope the UN can help create the conditions for a great peace dialogue in Venezuela," said President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has requested the support of the United Nations in launching a peace dialogue with opposition sectors.

RELATED: Venezuela: ‘Bolivarian Diplomacy of Peace Has Triumphed’

Speaking Saturday during a meeting at Miraflores Palace, the government headquarters in Caracas, Maduro said: "Peace, justice and solid institutions, the sustainable development goal number sixteen.

"There the UN has to help us... in the dialogue for peace, mutual recognition, harmony, coexistence, the coexistence of different political visions."

The meeting was held to discuss the advancement of social programs within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Plan, of which the South American nation is a part.

Along with members of the executive cabinet, the Venezuelan leader stressed that the 17 objectives contained in the UN program were included in the national budget for 2019, and in the Plan de la Patria 2019-2025, which he will present Monday at the National Constituent Assembly (ANC).

"I would like to sit down with the opposition, stop the sterile, useless, unnecessary conflict, talk about economic issues; with the experience of the UN we can achieve it," he said, asking the international organization for its support to end the U.S.-backed trade blockade against Venezuela.

Reviewing collaboration with the UN over the last decade, the president emphasized progress in education, employment, housing and the pension system.

They are "common goals to address the great issues of the development of humanity... multilateralism, a world of balance as the liberator Simon Bolivar dreamed," Maduro said.

Finally, the president said all UN agencies "have their doors open" in the nation, and reiterated his invitation to the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to visit Venezuela.

The resident coordinator of the United Nations System in Venezuela, Peter Grohmann, ratified "all the support" to the Venezuelan government and people to achieve the 2030 Agenda, which covers development and was created with the support of the entire UN.

The UN representative called for a joint effort with the government and civil society to "address the needs of the population as it is going through a complicated situation and obviously we have to take it to sustainability in the future, to achieve this in Venezuela we must have the data from the different social areas so that progress can be monitored."

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Venezuela Rejects ‘Dangerous’ Resolution by the OAS

The Venezuelan government deemed the resolution a "flagrant violation of international law" and a threat to the "people's right to peace."

Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs Ministry issued an official statement Friday in response to a “dangerous” resolution approved Thursday during an extraordinary session of the Organization of American States (OAS).

IN PICTURES: Venezuela: Nicolas Maduro Takes Office Amid Popular Support

“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela condemns the measures of coercion used in our region by the United States regime to promote its criminal aggression campaign against the People and government of Venezuela to further its policy of regime change in our country in flagrant violation of international law,” the communique shared by Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza states.

Thursday’s OAS declaration (sponsored by Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the United States, Peru, and Paraguay) seeks to disavow the legitimacy of President Nicolas Maduro, who was elected for a second term in May 2018. His runner up, Henry Falcon obtained only 21 percent of the vote, partly because a section of Venezuela’s right-wing opposition decided to boycott the elections.  

The Venezuelan government also thanked the countries that refused to sign the declaration, knowing that “this judicial manipulation threatens our people’s right to peace and endangers the stability of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Despite U.S. pressure, the OAS declaration did not manage to gain new supporters. A fact celebrated by Venezuela.

The statement concluded with a defense of the right of Venezuelan people to self-determination and to elect its national authorities. “Sovereignty resides in the Venezuelan people, the only that can grant legitimacy to the powers of the Venezuelan state.”

Venezuela has long been targeted by the OAS. However, on Thursday the spokesperson for the head of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, said they “will continue working with the government of Venezuela" and stressed it is not their role to recognize or not recognize elected governments.

 
 
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Paraguay breaks diplomatic ties with Venezuela, neighbors join in condemning Maduro

Paraguayan president Mario Abdo Benítez will close his country’s embassy in Caracas and withdraw diplomats, following Maduro’s inauguration for another term in power. Other South American countries joined in condemning Maduro.

“The government of the Republic of Paraguay, [...] has decided to sever diplomatic relations with ... Venezuela, to close our embassy there and to immediately recall Paraguayan diplomatic personnel,”  he said.

Benítez added that his decision will not affect the country’s “international commitments” to the troubled state and expressed solidarity with the Venezuelan people. 

Shortly after Benítez' announcement, Peru followed suit, recalling its last diplomat from Caracas in protest at Maduro's illegitimate” election. Peru's government also announced it will bar Maduro and 100 other Venezuelan officials from entering the country.

Argentina's President Mauricio Macri also denounced Maduro, writing on Twitter that Venezuela is a dictatorship,” whose leader tries to mock democracy.”

EL VICTIMARIO QUE SE VICTIMIZA. Nicolás Maduro hoy intenta burlarse de la democracia. Los venezolanos lo saben, el mundo lo sabe. Venezuela vive bajo una dictadura.

All in all, 13 of the 14 foreign ministers of the Lima Group - formed in 2017 to oppose Maduro's government - have rejected Maduro’s return to power, claiming the country’s May 20 electoral process lacked legitimacy.

On Wednesday, Maduro responded by giving the Lima group 48 hours to rectify their position, threatening to take “corresponding diplomatic measures.”

Since taking power in 1999, the governments of Hugo Chavez and successor Nicolas Maduro have implemented socialist economic policies that saw industry nationalised, price controls implemented, and wealth redistributed. These policies are widely considered to have failed miserably.

In an economic crisis exacerbated by a worldwide drop in oil prices since 2014 and punitive US sanctions, living conditions in Venezuela have deteriorated to the point where the average Venezuelan has lost 24 pounds in body weight since 2015, food, medicine, and clean water are in short supply, and some three million refugees have fled the country.

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The International Monetary Fund has predicted that Venezuela's inflation rate will hit ten million percent in 2019, one of the worst examples of hyperinflation in modern history.

While most of Maduro's neighbors held off attending his inauguration on Thursday, the Venezuelan leader could still count on a few allies to show up. The presidents of Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Bolivia were all in attendance.

The US, unsurprisingly, denounced Maduro's election and inauguration. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Maduro's election last year an illegitimate usurpation of power,” and vowed to continue to use the full weight of US economic and diplomatic power” to push for regime change in the Latin American nation.

The US will not recognize the Maduro dictatorship’s illegitimate inauguration. We will continue to increase pressure on the corrupt regime, support the democratic National Assembly, and call for democracy and freedom in Venezuela.

Maduro continues to blame the US for much of his country's ills, and last month accused leaders in Washington of plotting his assassination. In his inauguration speech, Maduro said Venezuela will continue to refuse to bow to the imperial and hegemonic orders” of the United States.

 

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Despite US Interventionism, Venezuela's Maduro Sworn In for 2nd Presidential Term

Nicolas Maduro was sworn in at Venezuela's Supreme Court for a second six-year term after winning the election of May 2018 with 67 percent of the vote.

Venezuela President Maduro began his second term in office Thursday after he was sworn in at the country's supreme court as leaders and delegations from 94 nations from around the globe attended the event along with representatives from OPEC, the African Union. UNASUR, Caricom and CELAC attended the swearing-in ceremony.

RELATED: The Case for the Legitimacy of Maduro's Second Term

Maduro assumes a new term for which he has committed to "promote the changes that are needed in Venezuela, to defend the right to peace and respect for the Constitution."

On May 20 last year, Nicolás Maduro was re-elected president of Venezuela with 67.7 percent of the vote. 

Maduro began his inauguration speech by thanking world leaders and representatives of over 94 countries who have attended his inauguration today, defying U.S. attempts to isolate the country. "Our Bolivarian constitution is an expression of peace and of the people," Maduro told world leaders and representatives as well as Venezuelan senior officials attending the event.

The inauguration comes amid threats of military interventions and coups against the progressive government by the United States and its allies in Latin America. Maduro's new mandate also comes despite the economic war that has been unleashed against the Maduro government by the United States and its European allies using economic sanctions.

"Venezuela is at the center of a global war waged by US imperialism and their satellite states," Maduro told the crowd commenting on such attacks and interventions by the U.S. and its allies. "Here I am, ready to take our country forward. Here we are with our democracy and our people."

A day earlier, Maduro warned that his country was facing a coup attempt ordered by the Donald Trump administration and the so-called Lima Group, the anti-Venezuelan organization founded in 2016 and includes 14 American states who are led by right-wing governments.

Right-wing governments in Latin America have already begun their attack on the newly elected government of President Maduro as President of Paraguay Mario Abdo Benítez announced Thursday, shortly after Maduro was sworn in, that his country breaks diplomatic relations with Venezuela. Abdo Benitez announced that the embassy will be closed and diplomatic staff will be withdrawn. 

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Maduro: Venezuela Faces Coup Ordered by US, Lima Group Ahead of Inauguration

The president said that any attempt against democracy should face the justice system, the constitution and the power of the union between civilians and the military.

In a press conference delivered to local and international media, the president of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro said Wednesday that a coup against the country is underway.

RELATED: Venezuela Delivers Protest Note to 'Lima Group' Countries

"A coup is underway, ordered from Washington (capital of the U.S.), ordered from the Lima Cartel (Lima Group), in Venezuela, and I tell you: the Venezuelan people will know how to respond to any attempt, any intentions that are intended today or tomorrow. (...) The Bolivarian Revolution has been preparing to confront and defeat any traitor who intends to violate life in Venezuela."

The president added that any attempt against democracy should face justice system, the constitution and the power of the union between civilians and the military.

During a press conference on national television from the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, the Bolivarian leader affirmed that the country is in a moment of definitions, and accused the media and the countries of turning his inauguration for a constitutional second term into a world war.

"What we have seen in recent weeks is unparalleled, the extremist forces against Venezuela have been unleashed," said Nicolas Maduro, saying that the only objective of these operations is to destabilize and fill Venezuela with violence, confusion and chaos "to seize its riches and change the course of history."

In addition, he accused the so-called Lima Group of being a "cartel of mafia interests", commanded by the United States and of violating the rules of international coexistence through issuing the declaration of last Friday, which he categorized as being an "order" from the Venezuelan opposition.

His press conference comes just a day ahead of taking the oath for his second term (2019-2025), after winning the presidential elections on May 20, 2018 with 67.84 percent of the vote. Several world leaders are expected to attend the inauguration as well as several delegations from around the world.

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ALBA Countries Condemn Interference by US and Latam Allies

ALBA stated that the Lima Group was “violating the Venezuelan people and its institutions by negating Venezuela’s appeals to the United Nations for support" amid the US blockade.

The Union for Social and Popular Movements (ALBA) issued on Sunday a statement admonishing U.S. actions against Venezuela and its people, and condemning the recent statement issued by the Lima Group.

RELATED: Venezuela Rejects Interventionist Comments by Pompeo in Brazil

ALBA expressed "concerns" in a seven-point statement in support of “the united struggle of our peoples,” in which it decries the interventionist rhetoric made by the Lima group, which they described as having “the singular purpose thus far of threatening the sovereignty of the Venezuelan state breaking with the principles of ‘not interfering in the internal affairs of a nation."

The group of countries, including, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia  all signed on to a statement that calls for President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro to not take office for his second six-year term on Jan. 10, but instead, devolve his presidential powers to the Venezuelan National Assembly.

These thirteen countries have called the most recent elections, in which Nicolas Maduro was elected with more than 60% of the vote, illegitimate, despite the numerous international observers providing oversight. 

ALBA states that the countries are “violating the Venezuelan people and its institutions by negating Venezuela’s appeals to the United Nations for help to combat the “national emergency created by the coercive and unilateral blockade placed on the country by the United States.”

On the same day during a public act at the Military Academy of Caracas, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro reiterated his commitment to the defense of Venezuela's sovereignty and rejected any interference from the U.S. government and their allies, confirming he will take office on Jan. 10 in the Supreme Tribunal of Justice. 

"The problems of each country are solved by their people and the problems of Venezuelans are solved by Venezuelans without the intervention of another government in the world, this is what I am about, this is what the Revolution is about, and the Revolution is stronger than ever", Maduro concluded.

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