January 22, 2018
Friday, July 28, 2017

Maduro, ministers lash out at CIA ‘intervention’ after director hints at plot to overthrow government

CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro demanded answers from the United States this week after comments by CIA Director Mike Pompeo suggested Washington was working to invoke “regime change” in the Latin American country.

“I demand the CIA director’s statement be made clear, and I demand from the government of (US) President (Donald) Trump, which considers itself a world government, to explain the insubstantial, interventionist words of the CIA director,” Maduro said, according to quotes printed by the Sputnik news agency.

The Venezuelan president was referring to comments made by Pompeo during a question-and-answer session at an event organised by the Aspen Institute thinktank. The CIA director said the agency was engaged in efforts to change the democratically elected government in Caracas, with the help of Mexico and Colombia.

Speaking before a group, Pompeo said he was “hopeful that there can be a transition in Venezuela and we the CIA is doing its best to understand the dynamic there.”

“I was just down in Mexico City and in Bogotá a week before last talking about this very issue, trying to help them understand the things they might do so that they can get a better outcome for their part of the world and our part of the world.”

The United States has a history of interference and acting to support the overthrow of governments in Latin America.

“Mexico and Colombia are working in concordance with the government of the United States to topple President Maduro’s democratic government,” Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada said, according to Spanish news agency EFE.

In Washington, Moncada and Carlos Ron, the chargé d’affaires at the Embassy of Venezuela in the United States, accused Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Pompeo of conspiring against Caracas.

“What this group is trying to do with Venezuela is basically divide the government, recognise other leaders and foment a conflict with the Venezuelans,” Ron told reporters in comments reproduced in US media. “This is absolutely unacceptable.”

Maduro has long lashed out at the “imperialist” threat from the United States, claiming that the government has long sought to overthrow the so-called “Bolivarian revolution” begun by late former president Hugo Chávez. Yet his government has continued to do business with the US over oil, by far the number one source of funds in the Venezuelan economy.

US Senators Rubio and Robert Menendez on Tuesday wrote a letter to President Donald Trump urging individual sanctions against state officials and on Wednesday, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on 13 senior Venezuelan officials as the opposition launched a general strike.

The US government opted to sanction the country’s Army and police chiefs, Tibisay Lucena, the national director of elections, and a vice-president of the state oil company PDVSA for alleged corruption and rights abuses.

Maduro returned to the theme of imperialism often in the week, ahead of Sunday’s vote.

“The director of the CIA has said ‘The CIA and the US government work in direct collaboration with the Mexican government and the Colombian government to overthrow the constitutional government in Venezuela and to intervene in our beloved Venezuela,’” the president said, according to comments reported by Telesur.

“I demand the government of Mexico and the government of Colombia to properly clarify the declarations from the CIA and I will make political and diplomatic decisions accordingly before this audacity.”

The foreign ministries of Mexico and Colombia refuted the claims and said that they were not engaged in efforts to oust Maduro.

“Mexico is a country that’s respectful of international law, that doesn’t work with any country in detriment of another,” read a statement released by the Mexican Foreign Ministry.

“Colombia is a country that is affected or benefits by Venezuela’s destiny. Therefore, our only interest regarding the current situation that Venezuela is going through (is) a solution and a negotiated and peaceful exit to the current circumstances,” the Colombian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

— Herald staff

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