Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused the “extremist Ku Klux Klan government that Donald Trump directs” of trying to concoct a crisis in his country in an attempt to spark a war in South America.
“Everything that the United States government has done has been doomed to failure,” the hard-left socialist told ABC News. “They are trying to fabricate a crisis to justify political escalation and a military intervention in Venezuela to bring a war to South America.”
Asked by ABC News’ Tom Llamas in the presidential palace in Caracas if he thinks the US wants to invade Venezuela, Maduro said: “The United States wants oil from Venezuela and is willing to go on a war for oil.”
He called it “a crazy plan. It’s an extremist plan, because Venezuela is a pacifist, humble nation” – and accused Washington of inventing “pretexts.”
“The humanitarian crisis, the violation of human rights, the lack of democracy and supposedly to come to help the Venezuelan people they are going to send the Marines,” he said.
“They are going to bomb us, they are going to destroy the country. They are excuses for an escalation, a military invasion, that is why they say all options are on the table.”
A political and economic crisis reached a new pitch in Venezuela last month when Juan Guaido, president of the country’s National Assembly, declared himself interim president in opposition to Maduro’s government.
On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Bogota, Colombia, where he met with Guaido, whom the US and 50 other nations recognize as Venezuela’s rightful president.
“We are with you 100 percent,” Pence told Guaido as he announced that the US will provide an additional $56 million in aid to the Venezuelan people.
The Treasury Department also announced Monday that it was imposing new sanctions on four Venezuelan governors connected to Maduro’s government.
Maduro said the meeting in Bogota was “part of that politics to attempt to establish a parallel government in Venezuela outside of the constitution.”
“When have we seen, in 200 years of relations between the United States and Venezuela, that the United States would decide without going through an election without a popular vote that in Venezuela there would be another president,” he said.
“When have we seen that? Never. I think this is extreme politics doomed to fail that nothing good comes out for the US or Venezuela.”
Maduro also appeared to be willing to give Trump a pass for referring to him as a “Cuban puppet.”
“I do not know if Trump believes what is written for him for his speeches that he goes out and reads. I am capable to give him the benefit of the doubt that he is repeating what is written for him,” he said.
And asked if he fears the US president, Maduro said: “I fear the people that are around him,” citing “extremist” national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who “has an antiquated scheme of old intelligence from the Cold War,” and Vice President Mike Pence, “a man that does not know world politics.”
“I think these people surrounding President Trump are bad. And I think that at one point, President Trump will have to say, ‘Stop, stop, we have to see what happens with Venezuela,’ and change his politics.”
Maduro said he also would be willing to meet Trump face to face.
“If it is about Venezuela’s peace, our region’s peace, of the development of our nation and friendly relations with the United States, I would be willing to go wherever I would have to go,” he said.
“To shake President Trump’s hand, always with respect.”
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