Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone on Thursday criticized Venezuela’s right-wing opposition, saying they are “working to overthrow elected presidents through unconstitutional and violent means.”
“Hugo Chavez didn’t repress the former ruling elite in Venezuela and many members of the former ruling elite have stayed in the country,” he added, clearing up earlier reports claiming that he blamed the crisis in Venezuela on the former president’s unwillingness to kill “oligarchs.”
“He allowed them to live, to carry on. I suspect a lot of them are using their power and control over imports and exports to make it difficult and to undermine (President Nicolas) Maduro.”
Responding to previous “misrepresented” reports, Livingstone said he was “disappointed at the deliberate misreporting” of his comments.
“I have not said that Hugo Chavez should have killed anyone and nor would I ever advocate it,” he said.
“I even dispel this accusation in the very interview that is being extensively quoted.”
Livingston, a longtime supporter of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, also argued that the crisis is due, in part, to the government not heeding his advice on infrastructure investment, which he claims could have reduced the state's reliance on oil.
During his mayoral term, Livingstone visited Caracas, where he and the socialist government sealed a cut-price oil deal that supplied fuel for Transport for London.