PUBLISHED : March 10, 2015
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused the US of trying to “defeat” and “intervene in” his government, after Washington labeled Caracas a national security threat and implemented sanctions against seven of its officials.
“President Barack Obama, representing the US imperialist elite, has personally decided to take on the task of defeating my government and intervening in Venezuela to control it,” Maduro said in a national TV address. “That’s why they have taken today’s measure.”
Maduro called the move a “colossal mistake” and “imperialist arrogance” similar to that of former US leaders such as Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. He stressed on Monday that will be asking the National Assembly for decree powers through a so-called Enabling Law to “preserve peace” and “fight imperialism.”
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Moreover, Maduro called the sanctioned officials “heroes.”
“I congratulate them,” he said, adding “it’s an honor” to be included on the US sanctions list. Maduro even named one of the sanctioned officials – national intelligence head Gustavo Gonzalez, the new interior minister.
US President Barack Obama signed and issued the executive order, which the White House claims targets Venezuelan officials who participated in human rights abuses.
“Venezuelan officials past and present who violate the human rights of Venezuelan citizens and engage in acts of public corruption will not be welcome here, and we now have the tools to block their assets and their use of US financial systems,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.
“We are deeply concerned by the Venezuelan government’s efforts to escalate intimidation of its political opponents,” he added.