Caracas, March 16th 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro hit back at his US counterpart Barack Obama on Tuesday, accusing him of having an “obsession” with undermining the South American country’s leftist government.
The retaliation comes as a response to a CNN Español interview with Obama aired on Monday, in which the US president claims to be “worried” about the Venezuelan economy and suggests that a change in the country’s government would be a desired outcome for the White House.
"The sooner the Venezuelan people can determine a government that they have confidence in that is legitimate, and that can start instituting economic policies that pull them out of the spiral that they're in, the better off it's going to be for all of us," said the head of state.
The comments caused outrage in Venezuela, where President Nicolas Maduro described the statements as a “sign of… contempt and arrogance” on national TV.
“It is unfortunate that Barack Obama has fallen into this anti-Bolivarian, anti-Venezuelan obsession which the United States has been honing for two centuries,” he continued.
The heated exchange follows the renewal of the US president’s executive decree against Venezuela on March 3, which brands the country “an unusual and extraordinary threat” to US national security and opens the door to possible sanctions.
The original decree was initially signed by Obama on March 9th of last year– stoking heavy criticism both at home and abroad.
Despite an international campaign against the move, Obama confirmed that the decree would continue in vigour until a third review in 2017– provoking Venezuela to immediately recall its highest ranking diplomat from Washington in response.
Tensions have been rife between the US and Venezuela since the latter embarked on a leftist agenda with the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998 and the two countries haven't exchanged official ambassadors in almost six years.
While both governments made tentative attempts at a rapprochement following the initial 2015 decree, efforts stalled in the run up to the Venezuela National Assembly elections in December, which saw the rightwing opposition to the government walk away with a two-third super majority in congress.
According to Maduro, Obama’s latest comments will be interpreted as a call to depose his government by the emboldened rightwing opposition, who announced their intention to force the president from office via referendum or constitutional reform earlier this month.
“This is directly meddled up in the coup attempts to change a legitimate constitutional government… in an absolutely independent Republic such as our Bolivarian homeland… violating international law and with no reason or moral motive,” lamented the president.
“It is a green light for the terrorist madness of the Venezuelan opposition,” said the head of state, referring to the violent opposition protests of 2014 which left 43 people dead.
Despite the renewed threat from the northern superpower, Maduro pledged to continue with the revolution, affirming that the country would not “surrender” to US foreign policy pressures.
He was also joined in his criticism by Venezuela’s foreign ministry, which released a statement condemning the US president’s comments.
“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela rejects the declarations of the United States president as blatant interference in the political life of our homeland, and openly inciting violent sectors to overthrow the constitutional and legitimate government of President Nicolas Maduro,” read the official communique dated March 15th.