We do not need foreign interference in our internal affairs, says Venezuelan Diplomat

We do not need foreign interference in our internal affairs, says Venezuelan Diplomat
By R. Ravichandran and Nabilah Saleh

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Jan 28 (NNN-BERNAMA) – The Venezuelan Government and its people are capable of solving the country’s ongoing political and economic crises without foreign interference, says Minister Counsellor and Charge d’Affaires to Malaysia, Morella Barreto Lopez.

She said the opposition must first accept the Bolivarian Republic’s constitution which was the basis for the election of President Nicolas Maduro in May last year. Maduro won the first term in 2013 after the death of President Hugo Chavez in March 2013.

As such, Barreto said there was no way a new election could be held as demanded by certain countries backing the self-proclaimed “interim” president Juan Guaido, the president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

She said the constitution clearly stated that presidential election was held every six years and did not allow for a new election as current president Maduro still discharging his duties. As such, she added the constitution could not be violated merely for the self-interest of certain people or countries.

Barreto pointed out that Article 233 of Venezuela’s constitution clearly stated the fact of the matter; however, Guaido and his supporters were not interpreting the constitution correctly.

On Jan 26, several European countries warned Maduro to call for elections within eight days, failing which, they would recognise Guaido as interim president.

“They must accept the constitution…it’s not possible to have a new election, either. We want to be free, we want to sort out our own problems without interference from foreign countries. We don’t accept that,” she said in an interview with Bernama International News Service at Wisma Bernama here today.

Barreto also stressed that the opposition must accept the results of the presidential election which was won by Maduro in which he obtained 67.8 per cent votes from about 9.38 million votes.

She said while moderate opposition parties contested in the election, opposition parties which she described as “radical”, including Guaido’s, did not participate in the democratic process due to Washington’s influence but were now trying to grab power in what she described as a “US-backed attempted coup”.

The current crisis was escalated after Maduro’s inauguration as president for a second six-year term on Jan 10, following which on Jan 23, Guaido, 35, at an opposition rally on the streets of Caracas proclaimed himself as interim president, a move later recognised by the US and few other countries such as Brazil, Colombia and Canada.

Claiming that Maduro’s second term was illegitimate, Guaido alleged the Venezuelan constitution allowed him to step in as president. On Jan 24, the US announced its recognition of Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela while major powers Russia and China are backing Maduro. Moscow has also warned the US against meddling in Venezuela’s internal affairs.

Barreto said after Maduro took office in 2013, the opposition thought they could easily topple him with foreign support.

She further pointed out that in order for Venezuelans to seek a comprehensive solution to the problems besetting the country of some 30 million people, it was paramount for the US to completely stop interfering in the country’s internal affairs, which she said started in 1999 following the late Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution.

“Since 2013, the president was willing to talk with the opposition at all times…but they refused,” she said.

She added the main problem with the opposition now was that they were under the control and influence of the US; thus, the US should stop attacking Venezuela’s sovereignty so that the nation could decide its own future and destiny.

“At the same time, the non-recognition of the Government of Venezuela will allow the enemies of our people to promote, finance or endorse internal actions of destablisation.”

Barreto also pointed out that the economic blockade by the US against Venezuela since 2015 prevented the Latin America country’s normal access to food, medicines, basic goods as well as access to international financing through a policy of financial persecution against Venezuela.

She said the majority of the 15 member countries of the Caribbean Community had thrown their support for Maduro while many of the Non-Aligned Movement countries were also in solidarity with the Venezuelan Government of Maduro.

Barreto explained that the US intended to place a puppet government to control Venezuela’s huge economic resources, especially its oil and minerals. Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil reserves.

She said Venezuela had been faced with US confrontation over the past 20 years and was confident that this time around too, the Venezuelan Government and its people would emerge victorious.

“I am sure we will win…every time we won…this is a new situation but not impossible to win,” she stressed.

Edited by Gerald Raja


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