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“Venezuela is a meeting place for dreaming about the future,” Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro told Max Blumenthal in a recent interview.
In an interview published Monday, Grayzone journalist Max Blumenthal sat down with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and discussed the state of the nations, touching on the effects of U.S. sanctions and the challenges being faced from the U.S. and within the Bolivarian ranks. The details are as follows.
During the interview, Blumenthal discussed the two major international conferences recently held in Caracas: the ministerial meeting of the Non-aligned Movement and the Sao Paolo Forum.
President Maduro pointed about the crucial importance that these two meetings — with representatives from around the world — in building solidarity with Venezuela, at a time when the U.S. is attempting to isolate the country.
He said, “We received great support against the aggressive measures, sanctions and blockade by the government of the United States against Venezuela, we received great solidarity, I believe it has been very successful from a diplomatic perspective.”
Maduro also pointed out the important roles these forums played in developing international policy and finding solutions for common problems like climate change without the U.S. assistance, because, “as you know, climate change affects every region of the world, but Donald Trump refuses to recognize it,” Maduro said.
Whether discussing climate change or other issues, the success of these meetings shows that “Venezuela is a meeting place for dreaming about the future,” the Bolivarian president said.
The interview then turned into a discussion of the brutal sanctions faced by the Bolivarian nation. “Experts call this unconventional war; it is an economic and financial war. The U.S. government persecutes us so that we can’t buy medicine so that they can't buy food, not even supplies or basic commodities; so that we cannot buy anything around the world,” said President Maduro.
Maduro also pointed out that deposits of gold reserves in central banks have special immunity under international agreements, yet “the U.S. government, colluding with the British government have stolen over a billion worth of our gold [held in the Bank of England]”
“Donald Trump, John Bolton, the KKK extremists who govern the U.S. today .. like the KKK who attacked the home of civil rights activists, they are now attacking our home, Venezuela.”
CLAP (Venezuela’s food relief distribution system) has also been sanctioned, Blumenthal noted, asking about the devastating effect this could have, since the program serves around 80 percent of the country’s population.
The Venezuelan head of state responded, ensuring the viability of the CLAP was a priority, and “whether there's rain, thunder or lightning, the CLAP will continue and we will continue serving those 6 million households ... With production and work, we will defeat the criminal plan carried out by Donald Trump, John Bolton and the KKK that governs the White House.”
Assassination attempt, 1 year on
The conversation turned to the sequence of events that culminated in the attempted coup. President Maduro spoke about the one year anniversary of the assassination attempt against him, and the evidence his government had uncovered.
“I have proof that the assassination attempt was ordered by John Bolton,” he said, information gained from culprits behind the coup attempt pointing to John Bolton and former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. According to testimony, the pair had colluded and assigned the operation to Venezuelan opposition figure Julio Borges. The president added that without evidence, he couldn't accuse Trump, but that the involvement of John Bolton is clear.
“What was going through my head at the time? I was focused on the speech I was giving, I didn't think it was an assassination attempt, after my security personnel protected me, and the second drone exploded, that's when I realized it was an assassination attempt, at the time I was worried about the safety and life of the families there, of the soldiers there.”
Challenges for the revolution
As the interview came to a close, Blumenthal asked the Venezuelan leader to speak about some of the challenges ahead, especially the issue of corruption and the ongoing peace negotiations.
The Grayzone journalist asked about corruption and concerns held among Chavistas that some public officials are harming the revolution through corruption.
President Maduro said clearly that any corruption is harmful to the Bolivarian revolution. The president also opened up about the corruption of former Minister Rafael Ramirez, a former ally who fled the country when evidence of embezzlement came to light.
Maduro now calls him a ‘mafioso,’ saying that the events had hurt him deeply because Ramirez had been with the revolution, “Chavez trusted him, and he mocked and betrayed Chavez’ trust,” “now he lives in a massive palace in Italy, protected by the U.S. government.”
On the issue of the peace negotiations, the president reminded viewers of the failure of the last round of talks, in which both sides were ready to sign an agreement, but that it broke down at the last minute as the then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ordered the opposition to pull out. He reiterated his government's commitment to making the talks a success, but feared that the U.S. would attempt to sabotage the talks once, as at each phase of the dialogue they impose “brutal sanctions, full of hate ... the KKK that govern the White House don't want dialogue, they want violence.”