Yesterday, Maduro spoke on a number of issues during a televised interview conducted by Chilean filmmaker Marco Enriquez Ominami. The interview was broadcast on the state-owned VTV network.
During the interview, Maduro spoke on the chronic medical shortages in Venezuela, the ongoing exodus of Venezuelans, and the upcoming presidential election.
When Ominami told the president about a Venezuelan woman who was unable to find medicine for her hypertension, Maduro said:
The world has to know (…) that we provide 100% coverage for family, preventative, primary medicine in communities and barrios throughout the country (…) If Venezuela did not have this primary medical service, then this economic war against medicine would have had a severe effect. I can assure you that any Venezuelan citizen has better access to free medical service and access to medicine than the Chilean worker, the Colombian worker, the Mexican worker.
Maduro’s assertion that the Venezuelan healthcare system is better than that of Chile, Colombia and Mexico stands in total opposition to the lived reality of millions of Venezuelans. Since coming to power in 2013, Maduro has presided over the most catastrophic economic and social collapse in the country’s history since the civil war of the 1849.
The chronic medical shortages that have led uncounted numbers of Venezuelans to early graves and paralyzed the nation’s clinics and hospital has been documented extensively by both national and international media and human rights organizations.
Ominami then asked Maduro about the ongoing exodus of Venezuelans who are fleeing the country in unprecedented numbers in the hopes of escaping misery. Maduro said:
Migration [due to] economic warfare is a new phenomenon. I’ve given precise instructions to establish the true magnitude of this phenomenon and to support Venezuelans, specially professionals, middle class, who have taken the route of economic migration to look for opportunities (…) I feel for everyone who leaves Venezuela.
Maduro also lashed out at targeted sanctions placed on regime officials by the governments of the United States, Canada and the European Union, calling them “ridiculous” because no one in his administration “owns even half a cent” outside of Venezuela.
When asked why he was running for president again instead of giving someone else in the PSUV the opportunity to lead the country, Maduro said:
Well, that’s a problem that already found a solution. It’s an extemporaneous discussion. The United Socialist Party of Venezuela–which is the most powerful party by votes in Venezuela–the Great Patriotic Pole; the new Somos Venezuela movement; and the social networks, well, they put my name forward. They’re giving me a vote of confidence.
Did you know that I never wanted to be president? If I’m here it’s because I’m doing our cause, our people, a service (…) millions have given me their vote of confidence.
Chilean Foreign Affairs Minister: Venezuela Is Not a Democracy
Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs Heraldo Muñoz revealed today that the PSUV-opposition talks that took place int he Dominican Republic earlier this year nearly ended in an agreement, but ended once the PSUV refused to make a compromise regarding the date of the presidential election.
Chile was one of the nations that participated in the failed talks, alongside Mexico, Nicaragua and Bolivia.
According to Muñoz, “there were moments when I thought” that an agreement between the two sides was possible. The minister said that the opposition negotiators also believed that a deal with the PSUV was imminent, particularly in the early stages of the talks when they believed that the regime was “negotiating seriously”.
The talks collapsed, Muñoz said, when the PSUV refused to yield on the matter of the presidential election. The minister said that while the opposition argued for holding the presidential vote in June, the Maduro regime wanted the date to be April 22. Once the regime formally announced the date of the election, the talks effectively ended.
On the question of whether Venezuela is a dictatorship or not, Muñoz said:
I think that it’s useless to qualify whether a country is a dictatorship or not. But what is certain is that [Venezuela] is not a democracy.
Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza reacted to his Chilean counterpart’s comments today through his Twitter account by expressing a combination of outage and indignation. Arreaza said:
We thought that [Heraldo Muñoz’s] participation in the dialogue would be constructive. However, he dedicated himself to torpedoing and ridiculing the process from day way: on social media, the press, with biased actions during the meetings. He made Chile and elementary diplomatic standards look bad.
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