As did the rest of the world, Venezuela reeled in shock today at Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election last night, and wondered how a Trump White House might affect the country’s relations with the U.S.
El Nacional published an article today in which it highlighted three statements Maduro has made in recent months that might signal his stance towards the president-elect. Below, my translation of those statements as published by El Nacional:
- June 18, 2016: [Maduro] makes comments while meeting with his cabinet. At that moment, [Maduro] condemned the magnate’s stance towards Mexican immigrants in his country. The businessman stressed throughout his campaign that he would establish strong immigration regulations.”Latin American and CELAC must raise their voice on behalf of Mexican migrants who have just been threatened by Donald Trump. We raise our voices from Venezuela. I as president raise my voice for the people of Mexico. [I am] offended by this magnate, by this pelucon [a derogatory term for a wealthy elite]”, said [Maduro].
- October 12 2016: In light of the campaigns by Trump and Hillary Clinton, the president assured that neither of the candidates augured good relations with Venezuela.”If half the things they say in these debates is true, neither one of them should be president”, said Maduro.
- November 8 2016: The President of the Republic stressed during his radio show La Hora de Salsa [Salsa Hour] that he would not attempt to predict who would win the election in the U.S., stressing that he would not meddle in the internal affairs of the U.S.
The Maduro government appears to have been drawing closer to the United States as evidenced by the participation of U.S. Department of State official Thomas Shannon in the ongoing dialogue with the opposition.
Aragua state governor Tarek El Aissami said through his Twitter account that he hoped that Trump would “cease the attacks, the aggression and the hostility towards Venezuela”.
Gov’t Congratulates Trump on Win
The Maduro government issued its official response to Trump’s election in the form of a press release in the early afternoon. Below, my translation of the release:
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela congratulates the United States of America over the presidential elections that it held on November 8 2016.
The Bolivarian government of Venezuela congratulates President-Elect Donald Trump, and hopes that [Trump can work to] advance towards a future governed by the principles and goals of the United Nations Charter, which consecrates the sovereign equality of States and the self-determination of peoples, among others, through respectful bilateral political and diplomatic relations.
The Bolviarian Republic of Venezuela hopes that new paradigms towards our region can take hold in this new stage that is now beginning in this North American nation, based on the recognition of cultural, social and historic identities of our countries while respecting non-intervention in internal affairs, law and the development of peace.
At the same time, we hope that the United States of America can find a way to face the economic, social and political challenges afflicting humanity, and on which its actions are important for the sake of world peace and stability.
Torrealba: U.S Election Result Part of “Boomerang Effect”
The head of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), Jesus Torrealba, reacted to Trump’s victory last night by saying that the entire world had a lot of reflecting to do.
Torrealba also drew a connection between Trump’s victory and that of Hugo Chavez in the 1998 presidential elections, saying that the U.S. awoke today to “similar uncertainty” than that which Venezuela faced after Chavez’s election.
We have to remember how certain authoritarian projects come to power through democratic means in order to weaken democracy from the inside, to corrupt and destroy democracy from within its own entrails. I’m not talking about another country: I’m talking about mine with a heavy heart.
Continuing with the Venezuelan connection, Torrealba said:
We as Venezuelans have to value our struggle to reconquer democracy much more (…) while we are coming from that disaster, from that fantasy over personality, from those types of hegemonic and totalitarian projects, others appear to be heading off that same cliff. We Venezuelans have more reasons today than ever to value and continue our struggle.
Torrealba also hinted at the opinion that Trump was elected because he was a political outsider who promised to upend the status quo, something which he fears may come back to haunt the U.S. elector:
A country with serious questions about its political establishment, its political status quo and the political class in general, takes a decision to punish that political class and the punishment ends up being a boomerang.
Ramos Allup Threatens to Walk Away from Talks
National Assembly president Henry Ramos Allup said that the MUD should not hesitate to walk away from talks with the national government if the Maduro administration fails to give tangible signs that it is in fact interested and willing to engage in dialogue. Allup said that the MUD only agreed to the dialogue in the first place because it had “specific requirements” of the government, and that if these requirements were not met the dialogue would end.
We sat down to talk with specific requirements. If we don’t see results, we’ll have to get up [and walk away].
At the same time, Allup said that he was personally willing to go to any length to seek a peaceful solution to the political crisis in the country:
If it’s on me to go to the deepest pit of Hell to talk to the Devil to save my country, I’ll do it.
On the overall state of the country, Allup said:
The situation in the Venezuela is pathetic. There’s nothing that’s working normally here… we sat down to a dialogue because it’s a necessary step, and the alternative is to kill one another.
Capriles Hopes For Sensible, Sane Trump
Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles reacted to Trump’s election by referencing his victory speech last night, in which Trump sounded much more sensible than usual. Through his Twitter account, Capriles said:
I hope that sensibility wins, and that [the Trump White House] be guided by the speech that we heard in the overnight hours [from Trump].
He also referenced the high number of Venezuelans living in the United States, saying “we are worried [for them]”.
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