Maduro says US making 'mistakes' in Venezuela

Venezuelan president rejects US aid and criticises EU nations for supporting the possibility of US military intervention in an Al Jazeera interview.

    Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolas Maduro has told Al Jazeera that the United States is trying to destabilise his country and that efforts by the US-backed opposition to bring aid into the country are political theatre.

    Maduro said his government should have control over its borders and imports.

    “Any material that comes from outside the country must be subject to certain conditions such as inspection and taxes as in all countries, whether by air, sea or land, and then there will be no problems,” he told Al Jazeera. “The theatrical presentation they are attempting on February 23 will not happen.”

    That’s when Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president last month, said aid would arrive in the country. 

    Speaking at a rally in Caracas on Tuesday, Guaido had said the armed forces, which remain loyal to Maduro, should allow the aid to enter the country.

    Guaido calls Maduro’s presidency illegitimate, while the latter accuses Guaido of staging a US-backed coup. 

    About 50 United Nations-member countries have pledged their support to Maduro, while 65 countries, including the US, stand behind Guaido.

    ‘No to the global show’

    Maduro criticised European nations for supporting the possibility of US military intervention in his country citing their support of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

    “Was it necessary to intervene militarily in Iraq and divide it and kill millions of its people? I think they also made a mistake when they bombed Libya and killed more than 100,000 civilians. Can these errors be corrected? I also think they have also erred in a destructive policy approach in Syria, and are now making mistakes with Venezuela,” Maduro told Al Jazeera. 

    Last month, the US blocked the transfer of dividends from CITGO, the state oil company PDVSA’s US subsidiary, cutting off about 70 percent of the country’s hard currency, and ramping up pressure on Maduro. 

    “They suffocate us, steal our money and then say ‘hold on to this crumb’ and put on a show for the world,” said Maduro.

    “Venezuela with dignity says no to the global show. Whoever wants to help Venezuela, welcome. but we are able to pay for everything we need. We do not beg from anyone,” he added. 

    The opposition-controlled Congress has named a new board of directors for the state oil giant PDVSA, as well as its US subsidiary – a move welcomed by Washington. 

    But Venezuela’s top court ruled that the opposition-appointed petroleum executives must face criminal prosecution.

    The decision by the Supreme Court, which backs Maduro, is the latest move in the tussle for control of Venezuela’s oil revenues.

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