Stressing that diplomatic relations with the U.S. are currently at their "worst moment," Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said that despite the United States' threats to use military force against the South American country, presidential elections will go forward in 2018 no matter what.
The head of state said that even if Trump dressed as a U.S. marine and landed in Venezuela, elections will not be stopped. Regional elections are set for October 2017, while presidential elections are set for 2018.
"I have tried to send messages of respect (to U.S. President Donald Trump), even though we have big differences," Maduro said during a press conference with international media in Caracas. "We believe in dialogue between civilizations."
Maduro said the military threat has even been rejected by the right-wing opposition in Venezuela and others in Latin America.
"Unfortunately we are in the worst moment in our relationship with the government of the United States."
Maduro said the press conference had a sole objective, which was to communicate the truth about Venezuela.
"I can be criticized and accused of mistakes, but what they can never accuse me of is betraying my country," Maduro said. "Here we are on our feet. We will not hand over power to the oligarchy to destroy our people to then write books about how the Bolivarian Revolution was lost. We will not play that game."
"This is not a perfect revolution, but it is strong," he added.
Maduro said the threat of imperialist aggression across the world is triggering a wave of solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. He read a statement, for example, by the Latin American Council of Social Sciences, CLACS, that defended the South American country.
"The U.S. has invaded and intervened and eliminated the sovereignty of almost every country in Latin America and the Caribbean. It has done so with the help of elites, the ultra-right," Maduro read.
During the press conference, the leftist Venezuelan leader also praised the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin for defending Venezuela's right to sovereignty and for supplying the country with wheat during troubling times.
"Venezuela and Russia have built a mutual relationship for our sovereign defense," Maduro said.
Maduro confirmed plans to visit Moscow in coming weeks to build bilateral relations.
"It is time to put a final end to U.S. interference in our internal affairs ... we have to reaffirm the right to our country's self-determination," Maduro concluded.
Maduro also indicated that some of the opposition forces that have been taking part in the violent protests these past four months have said they are willing to work with the newly-appointed Truth, Justice and Reparation Commission for Victims.