Following the news that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos had been awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, Maduro announced today that Venezuela would create its own version of the prestigious award.

Yesterday, Maduro announced the creation of the “Hugo Chavez Peace and People’s Sovereignty” award, and said that the prize would be given to individuals who distinguish themselves in their struggle for peace.

Maduro also announce the award’s first winner: Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to Maduro, Putin is the world’s “most distinguished leader” and is therefore deserving of the prize.

Speaking at an event announcing the award’s creation, Maduro said:

I think that we have to give him [Putin] this prize right away, so I’m going to propose that to the jury that we’re going to establish. [He’s] a leader — I think he’s the most distinguished leader in the world today. He fights for peace, world equilibrium, [he] builds a multipolar world: [he’s] President Vladimir Putin. I think that he would be deserving of the Hugo Chavez prize and I think that he would accept [the award] with all his heart and keep it besides him always.

Prior to launching a military intervention in Syria in support of dictator Bashar al-Assad, Putin annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Putin’s support of separatist rebels in Ukraine since 2014 has left over 6,000 people dead and displaced nearly 2 million people.

Maduro Goes to Turkey Looking for Investment

Speaking during a televised event earlier today, Maduro said that he would travel to Turkey “in the next hours” to meet with President Recep Erdogan. Maduro said that one of his goals while in Turkey would be to “keep bringing new investments” into Venezuela, specially for the natural resource industry.

In 2010, Maduro – who was then acting at the Foreign Affairs Minister – became the first high-level Venezuelan diplomat to visit Turkey. This trip will make him the first President of Venezuela to do the same.

Maduro assured supporters that the trip would be really short, saying:

I’ll be right back. I won’t be finished arriving before I turn around and come back. I’m going to go looking to unite our peoples for a new world. Unity with governments and peoples of the world for out mutual benefit and so investments keep coming to Venezuela…

Maduro: Venezuelans Must “Do Lots with Little”

During the same speech, Maduro called on all Venezuelans to “do lots with little”, referring to the continued economic collapse that the country is experiencing.

He also said that despite all of the country’s difficulties, his government has managed to stay afloat. He partially attributed this to his love for the Venezuelan people, saying:

If someone wants to do something and they have a plan, with love, setting up all their priorities, then it’s possible to advance under the worst circumstances and with the worst obstacles and the biggest difficulties.

Maduro also said:

We’ve learned to get by with less, and do lots with little (…) I invite all of Venezuelan to continue to do lots with little. It’s a method that we’ve learned during these years of economic war, and of falling oil prices and [the end] of the oil economy.

Despite the financial difficulties facing the country and its people, Maduro assured his supporters that the Bolivarian revolution was the only way forward for Venezuela:

The dreams of a people can only be achieved through revolution, when you’re talking about dreams of glory, of humanity.

Parlasur Accepts Motion to Send Medical Aid to Venezuela

The Parlamento de Mercosur [Mercosur Parliament], Parlasur, voted to accept a motion today to send medical aid to Venezuela as the country continues to face a chronic shortage of medical supplies.

Williams Davila – an opposition National Assembly deputy who also serves as a deputy in Parlasur – said that the motion passed despite objections by pro-Maduro Parlasur deputies. The pro-Maduro deputies apparently took offence to some of the language in the resolution, particularly sections that made reference to a “humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela.

According to the Maduro government, Venezuela is not suffering through a humanitarian crisis. They maintain the assertion despite the prolonged, chronic shortages of food, basic necessities and medicine that have been affecting the people of Venezuela since 2014.

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