Tuesday 19 March 2019

US trying to fabricate war in South America, says Maduro

Detained: TV anchor Jorge Ramos speaks to reporters about his experience in Venezuela after arriving back in Miami yesterday. Photo: REUTERS/Maria Alejandra Cardona
Detained: TV anchor Jorge Ramos speaks to reporters about his experience in Venezuela after arriving back in Miami yesterday. Photo: REUTERS/Maria Alejandra Cardona

Rachael Alexander

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro accused the US government of manufacturing a crisis in an attempt to start a war in South America, in an interview.

"Everything that the United States government has done has been doomed to failure," Mr Maduro told American broadcaster ABC News from the presidential palace in Caracas in remarks translated by the network from Spanish.

"They are trying to fabricate a crisis to justify political escalation and a military intervention in Venezuela to bring a war to South America."

Meanwhile, Spanish-language US television network Univision said a news team led by anchor Jorge Ramos was released after being detained at the presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, while interviewing Mr Maduro.

The network said Mr Maduro did not like the questions they were asking and confiscated the team's equipment and recording from the interview.

"I'm talking with @jorgeramosnews. He and the other members of the team were freed," tweeted Daniel Coronell, president of news for Univision.

In response to Univision's claims, Venezuela's Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez tweeted that the government had in the past welcomed hundreds of journalists to the Miraflores presidential palace, but it did not support "cheap shows".

Earlier in the day, US vice president Mike Pence announced $56m (€49m) in aid to Venezuelans as well as tougher US sanctions as he joined a Lima Group meeting of Latin American countries plus Canada that was also attended by opposition leader Juan Guaidó. The United States is among some 50 countries that recognise Mr Guaidó as Venezuela's interim president.

Mr Maduro blasted the talks in Bogota, Colombia, as being "politics to attempt to establish a parallel government in Venezuela".

Washington, he said, "wants Venezuela's oil" and is "willing to go to war for that oil".

"The extremist Ku Klux Klan government that Donald Trump directs wants a war over oil, and more than just oil," Mr Maduro said, describing Venezuela as a "pacifist, humble nation." But he also said he was ready for "direct dialogue" with the Trump administration.

Irish Independent

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