President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday he is grateful to Turkey’s president position regarding the crisis in Venezuela.
In an interview with Russia RT channel, Maduro also thanked other world leaders who support him.
European countries made a mistake by representing opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s interim president, he said.
In the 21st century, relations cannot be built on the basis of ultimatums when “a certain county is given a week to do something which is not in your interest under a threat of intervention,” Maduro said.
“In Venezuela, there is only one government elected by popular vote, in a constitutional manner, which has sworn to this Constitution and which is fully performing its functions. And the head of this government is me, its servant, Nicolas Maduro Moros. Everything else that they are trying to impose on us is a real putsch, a comedy, a circus,” he said.
Maduro claimed the crisis was designed in Washington and it is “shameful” to see European countries follow the “reckless, extremist” policy of the White House that is “doomed to failure”, adding that it was shameful as well for the Latin American bloc, the Lima Group to support Guaido.
He condemned Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, saying if the U.S. uses military intervention in Venezuela, his hands will be forever blood-stained.
Maduro said he accepted opposition demands to hold early presidential elections in 2017, and it was held “according to the Constitution, transparently, directly and in presence of international observers”.
“The problem of the opposition is not in holding of another election,” he said.
“There is no shortage of elections in Venezuela, elections have been held 25 times in the last 20 years. Over the past year and a half, elections have been held six times. Therefore, Venezuela has no shortage of elections. The 2018 elections were held ahead of schedule at the suggestion of the opposition. Throughout 2017, the opposition insisted on early elections. And in December 2017, we told them, ‘Okay, we’ll reschedule.’”
Maduro said there would not be military intervention but the army and militia were getting prepared to repel any attack.
“We are also preparing to respond to the illegal threats coming from Donald Trump that violate international law, about the invasion of the American army. They are immoral. I use every media to call on the entire world – heads of state, heads of government, world leaders, social movements, the world community – to expose and stop Donald Trump’s insane actions against Venezuela. He threatened us with military intervention, but Venezuela does not give up – and will never give up!” he said.
– Trump has no ‘casus belli’
He said Trump has no “casus belli” — a reason to announce a war — as Venezuela does not have weapons of mass destruction, and does not pose a threat to U.S. national security.
“Do you know what casus belli he has? Venezuelan oil. Venezuela’s resources – gold, gas, diamonds, iron, water. Our material wealth,” he said.
Venezuela’s president denied there was internal conflict in his country because opposition is “virtual and exists only on the social networks”.
The main problems are economic, not political, said Maduro. Politically, he see giving legitimacy to the legislative branch of power as the one thing that deserves attention.
Maduro characterized Guaido as “a random tool” used by the West for implementing “a reckless scenario” but expressed readiness to hold talks with him.
Regarding sanctions against Venezuelan oil giants PDVSA and Citgo, Maduro said his country continues a “legal battle against the U.S.”
“It is an attempt of illegal confiscation of property under the laws of the U.S. … what they have done goes beyond all bounds,” he said.
Freezing the accounts of these companies means Venezuela will get payments for its oil much earlier, the president said, adding “the world is big, there are a lot of markets in the world, including Asian ones – China and India.”
Maduro touched on why he has refused Western humanitarian aid.
“All they sent are bombs. Bombs that destroyed Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria. Which brought death. It’s a show and nothing more. We have the opportunity to produce what we need here, to import what we need, we always have this opportunity. I will not accept interventionism in any form, you can be assured. Venezuela is not a beggar country, and we will gain the respect for Venezuela,” he said.
On Jan. 23, Guaido declared himself president. Since then, tensions have mounted in the South American nation with embattled Maduro refusing the opposition’s calls to step down.
Maduro accuses the U.S. of orchestrating a “coup” against his government, insisting that he is open to dialogue with the opposition.
The U.S. has led an international campaign to put economic and diplomatic pressure on Maduro, including imposing sanctions on the state-owned oil company.
Russia, China and Iran have also thrown their support behind Maduro, as has Turkey.
Nearly 19 European countries — including the U.K., France, Spain and Germany — have joined the U.S. in recognizing Guaido, along with Canada and several Latin American states.