Maduro brushes off risk of new sanctions after vote
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro dismissed yesterday the threat of new sanctions following an early election called for tpe weekend, which critics have denounced as a sham aimed at tightening his grip on power.
“These are unacceptable threats toward any sovereign nation,” Maduro said in an interview with France 24 television. “Venezuela is a democratic country.”
If EU leaders add to sanctions they first imposed last November, “We’ll continue to work, continue to live: Their sanctions don’t concern me, because these leaders have a superiority complex, they still think they control their former colonies,” Maduro said.
U.S. officials are also expected to tighten the screws on Venezuela, but Maduro reiterated his claim that President Donald Trump is bent on ousting his government.
The country has been gripped by a political and economic crisis for months as Madura has overhauled institutions while sidelining the main opposition coalition, which has been barred from fielding candidates in the coming election.
But Maduro also brushed off claims that his almost certain victory would be marred by huge abstention rates among voters wearied by years of economic and political crises which have devastated living standards for millions.
His campaign has called on citizens to give him a symbolic 10 million votes on Sunday, saying Wednesday that this was the country’s “debt to the Bolivarian revolution” - the political path laid out by the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.
Asked if he would then dissolve the National Assembly, which is dominated by opposition groups, Maduro said: “The idea seems a good one.”
He has already bypassed the parliament by setting up a Constituent Assembly packed with Maduro loyalists, though the body has not been recognised by foreign governments or the European Union.
Maduro also contested claims of rampant inflation as the country’s economy has collapsed amid falling oil prices, calling them lies from groups like the International Monetary Fund, which last month warned prices were likely to soar more than 13,800 percent this year.