Calling from Caracas, Carlos Ron, the Vice Minister for North America, at Venezuela's Ministry of Foreign Affairs participated in the April 30, 2019, Alliance for Global Justice Venezuela Webinar.
Hello Everyone. Like you know we've been in a constant state of coup d’état since January 23rd. I mean this is an ongoing process. This isn't just a one day, one-moment thing, it's something that started when Mr. Guaido from the National Assembly decided, against the Venezuelan constitution, against anything in law, to proclaim himself President. After that obviously, you know we understand this is a process that only comes about because he has serious backing from the current U.S. administration.
Earlier this morning we woke to the information that he was outside one of the military bases in Caracas, the Air Force Base in La Carlota, together with Leopoldo Lopez, who escaped his house arrest, and basically was calling on the Venezuelan armed forces to turn against the government of President Maduro and against the constitution.
What happened afterwards, is that they tried to call for people to gather around this Air Base and tried to ignite another protest. While there was a concentration at the same time here near Miraflores, which is the government palace here in Caracas, where social movements, community organizers and people came out in defense of peace and in defense of democracy, rejecting U.S. interventionism and rejecting this new attempt at a coup.
Right now, I mean there is still information coming in, but we have heard that Leopoldo Lopez, who was leading this concentration was back at the Embassy of Chile. Well, we presume that he may be requesting asylum or some sort of measure of the sort. But is correct that they had begun coming down to Miraflores, but actually forcing President Maduro to leave or to resign, was not fulfilled.
I wouldn't say it's over because like I said it's an ongoing process since January. So, it is easy to believe that there might be another type of attempt again at taking over the government and forcibly. But, the reality on the ground, and I think that this is important, and which is that people high in the U.S. administration don't understand, is that people are not supporting this coup. People are not supporting violence here in Venezuela. People are not supporting this "regime change" operation. People want to live in peace. People want to settle our differences democratically, as we have always done, but not through these means.
So there's wide popular support for President Maduro and for the constitution to be respected, primarily. We hope that we're not gonna get into violence like we've been the last couple years. I mean you remember, in 2014 and 2017 there were several episodes of violence and unrest in the streets, always supported by outside interference, always supported by U.S. financing. Today's latest pronouncements from John Bolton, Pompeo, Rubio, even Trump at the end of the day were calling for all the Cubans to leave Venezuela immediately, otherwise, they will really hike-up the U.S. embargo [blockade] and measures against Cuba. It really shows a lot of misunderstanding of the Venezuelan reality.
But it shows how committed the U.S. administration is currently towards "regime change" in Venezuela. So we're hoping that, you know, that the truth will prevail, that peace will prevail and that common sense will prevail because we believe that this is not the way to go to solve Venezuela's problems. But rather, the government has constantly been calling for dialogue, political dialogue, and that's what we really need to move forward.
I used to be charge d’affairs at the Embassy. I was there for four years. And what we sought throughout all that time was to have a respectful relationship with the United States. You know a relationship that was based on respect, on trying to find ways of cooperation and never submitting to Venezuela's sovereignty to the United States or to any country.
We are the largest oil reserves in the world. And I think it's been made clear by many of the key figures in the administration that this is really a key issue for members' interests. John Bolton said not too long ago on TV, in a Fox interview, basically that what would be better for U.S. interests and for U.S. companies was from them to start producing more oil in Venezuela again. I mean there is a clear intent of getting control of Venezuela's oil reserve. So this is not really a concern about the situation in Venezuela, t economic crisis or any other human concern, it's really a thing about interests once again. So, diplomacy, unfortunately, has not been able to succeed. You know they keep saying that "all options are on the table," including a military threat against our country. But the only options that we think need to be on the table are the options of diplomacy or the option of dialogue. We have insisted constantly, not only with the opposition here but with but also in the United States and what we have gotten is a complete refusal. All they want to talk about is how President Maduro is going to leave the office. You know, that's something that's non-negotiable. We cannot negotiate the will of the Venezuelan people, we believe in democracy, we accept the results of the election that elected President Maduro in the first place. So why would that be something that can be discussed?
We can discuss political solutions, we can discuss you know our political dialogue between government and opposition, sure. We can discuss anything within the framework of the constitution as real democracies do.
It's important to keep in mind that we're a people under threat not only from military intervention, but also we are currently suffering a large number of sanctions. And I'm sure there the people that were just here in Venezuela can really speak to what they saw and how those sanctions really do have an effect on the Venezuelan people. And this is not only something that's hurting the government, or key officials in government, it's something that's hurting the whole country. And again this is just with the purpose of achieving a "regime change" that will make business more bearable for some economic interests. We are out here resisting because we want to defend international law, we want to defend democracy.
Right now we're under threat of our Embassy being taken over by the Venezuelan opposition. We've already lost three of our buildings in violation of the Vienna Convention. They were handed over to the opposition and now they're threatening to take over our Embassy as well.
We're so proud and surprised and admire very much the courage of those activists that are now in the Embassy and around the Embassy trying to defend it from the Venezuelan right-wing, despite the threats and the aggression that they have received all day. We think it is important that there is some sense and there are some people standing up for more respect for international law and respect for the rights of Venezuelan people, which at the end of the day is what we care about.
We would never ask people to adopt our political model, but we do defend the right to have our own system and then to have our own self-determination and that is what this is all about.
Follow Carlos Ron on Twitter: @CarlosJRonVe
Follow Alison on Twitter:@Alisoncolette
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