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Interview with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro - RT

3 20.09.2019 Инфо

SOT, Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "Dear friends, welcome, welcome to another program of 'Conversation with Correa' (Conversando con Correa), from a location that has a very special place in my heart, it brings back great memories, immense nostalgia: the Palace of Miraflores, in Caracas, Venezuela, the presidential palace of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. And with an extraordinary guest, extremely special, to whom I am very grateful for his kindness: President Nicolas Maduro Moros. Thank you, Nicolas, for the privilege of accepting this invitation to talk freely, flexibly, even informally, about Venezuela, the current situation and the global situation. Welcome and thank you very much."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Well, thank you very much, Rafael, welcome to your homeland, Venezuela, and thank you for offering this prestigious platform of the program 'Conversando con Correa' to have an opportunity to tell our truth and to be able to talk, well, as always: with the greatest sincerity and the greatest passion. That passion that moves us through our countries. Thank you."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "Yes, Venezuela is a victim of a disinformation campaign taking advantage of certain problems. Some may be the result of mistakes we all make, and others are clearly provoked by what sometimes are called 'sanctions', which are in fact illegal aggressions against sovereign countries. But what many forget is what Venezuela was before Chávez, who knew Venezuela. And maybe they don't know that for decades Venezuela was the main oil producer in the world. Where was that money? To the condos in Miami, it did not remain for the progress of the Venezuelan people. But it is clear that a few years ago that prosperous Venezuela, which was an example of reducing poverty, increasing equality, diminishing inequality, always an example of dignity, of sovereignty, has had serious problems. What happened, Nicolas?"
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Well, a lot has happened. The physical loss of our commander and leader Hugo Chavez was a very big blow, not just a political, it was a spiritual, moral, national blow... It was a blow to the whole region. Since commander Chávez became ill, the enemies of the Bolivarian project, of the revolutionary project, have been making plans. The internal enemies, but above all the imperial power of the United States began to project a set of formulas to replace the chavismo, to put an end to the phenomenon of chavismo. And from early in the same year 2013-2014, during the Obama era, we already suffered the first elements of an economic war that was beginning to be felt, affecting internal trade and internal supply, dramatic price speculation. Already in 2013-2014. I tell you, Rafael, if Venezuela did not have the social model it has nowadays... Through what we call 'missions' and 'great missions', which are the great plans. If we did not have the 'missions' and 'great missions' to feed the population, for the construction of houses, public education, public health, the income of our old people and pensioners, if we didn't have this integral social model, all their attacks on us, and especially during the last two years of Trump, the sanctions, the economic aggressions, the bans they have imposed on us in the economic field, would have had a devastating effect on the social stability and life of our people. Our people have been defended thanks to the ability to distribute wealth, much or little. In Chávez's period, and until 2015, Venezuela had an income of almost 50,000 million dollars. 50,000 million from oil alone."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "[That is an] annual average."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Annual. Do you know which was last year's average? 4,000 million dollars."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "You know that among my bad habits there is also being an economist, I know that figure."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Yes, no one is perfect."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "When I was checking it, I couldn't believe it."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Yes."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "From an average of 50,000 million oil revenues to 5,000! That is the crisis you are facing."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "There is a media Venezuela, there is a Venezuela of world manipulation, and there is a real Venezuela, a real Venezuela that you can travel through. Walk through it. And there is people that, despite the sorrows, is protected, a family that is protected. That's why I tell you: with large income we had a time of prosperity, of growth in the consumption, of growth in the economy. And with very low incomes, as a result of the economic war and above all of the criminal sanctions of Donald Trump's government, we have also managed to create a system of protection, of distribution of wealth, which I really say is miraculous."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "You mentioned that Hugo Chavez's departure - who was a close friend -, his departure was a very hard blow. And I believe that leaders, especially in countries as little institutionalized as the developing countries, are important. Today they want to demonize even that [the leadership], and the mediocre is the one who can demonize the leadership. But we must all be necessary, no one must be indispensable. Could a political project as important as the Bolivarian project in Venezuela depend on only one man, even being such an extraordinary person as in my opinion Commander Hugo Chávez was?"
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "I believe that Commander Chavez was aware of the role a leader, a boss, should play. He formed a generation of leaders, who accompanied him with great conscience in a collective leadership and allowed -in that ambush that life gave us, with the sudden illness and the physical departure of Commander Chavez-, to take over and advance. This is not a problem -I always say it- of a single man. This is not a problem -and Chavez said it- of Chavez. No. This is a problem, a matter of a historical project , of people, Bolívar's project, and I say it today: this is not a problem of Maduro. If Maduro is there, if Maduro is not there... No, it is not Maduro's problem. I have my responsibilities and I assume them; I assume them firmly, fiercely, I would say. But there is people here. Here there is a political force. Here is a Bolivarian National Armed Force. Here there is a collective leadership. And whether Maduro is here or not, the revolution will continue."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "Let's continue a little with the economic part. You said it: the gross income, which until a couple of years ago, on average (gross oil income), was 50,000 million, has been reduced to one tenth. And, obviously, that complicates things a lot. You have talked about distributing wealth, production, but in order to do that you have to generate production first. What is the economic situation in Venezuela? How do you expect to overcome it? What happened? What is going to happen in the future?"
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "The situation is complicated, because as you say, well, the economic sanctions and the prosecution of the U.S. empire has placed great restrictions on internal economic processes. The world must know, as you know, that Venezuela has a global financial prosecution. Almost 30,000 million dollars have been stolen from us. Venezuela in the world cannot open or close bank accounts, it cannot pay any kind of product, and now we are threatened with a complete naval blockade. We have set ourselves fundamental priorities, Rafael, of an economy of resistance, attacked, besieged. Priority one: the food for the citizens, to produce all the food. We are obliged to do so in Venezuela. Secondly, an element that has hit us hard: the issue of medicines. Venezuela has an industry that produces medicines, first-rate technology laboratories, and we are adapting them so that they can cover all the national internal demand. So, I tell you: we are in an economy of resistance, always visualizing the path of development, of the expansion of the productive forces, and having a central axis, as you know, the recovery of the oil industry."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "I know a little about the Venezuelan economy, and the problems began, it can be clearly seen, in 2015, when the price of oil started to fall and the oil production of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador began to fall, because normally you invest the oil revenues to maintain production. When there is scarcity, it is difficult to reinvest or invest resources. But prices are beginning to recover a little, financial markets are opening up, credit is being accessed, and countries like Ecuador or Colombia are recovering their oil production, but Venezuela is not doing so because many of the measures, the sanctions against Venezuela by Obama's executive decree are beginning to take effect (although they were not yet official). That, added to the fall of prices, drastically reduces oil income. The question was, the question is: why wasn't a greater effort made by temporarily sacrificing consumption to rescue that oil production, which was the basis of the Venezuelan economy?"
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Two factors. First, mistakes we made. Unfortunately, in the oil industry, there was a mafia. A mafia that came before 2013. A mafia that looted PDVSA."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "But, forgive me, after almost 20 years of Bolivarian Revolution?"
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Yes. So that you can see how the ideology of corruption, of economic groups can be reproduced, of course. This was decomposing in the era of prosperity, of immense wealth, of immense income. In fact, that led me, Rafael, that is almost unknown in the world, that led me to conduct an investigation in conjunction with the Attorney General's Office of the Republic, and to discover a total putrefaction. There are dozens of detainees, including two former ministers and two former PDVSA presidents. In fact, the head of the international mafia lives in a palace like a king in Italy. A man called Rafael Ramírez, who makes me feel ashamed and disgusted to name him. That's a first element. And the second element is the international financial war, which was not like in Trump's era. In Obama's time he used the smile, it was the smiling Obama who greeted the world and stabbed Venezuela with these processes. Now, we suffered... "
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "Thank God he was a Peace Nobel Price winner, right?"
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Of course, thank God."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "Thank God he was a Peace Nobel Price winner."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "These are two fundamental elements that we suffered and paid the consequences strongly in the entire Venezuelan economic process. I am sure, indeed, that the harshness of this economic war brought us to a level of maturity and preparation, so that what is coming now will be real growth."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "But almost 20 years after the Bolivarian Revolution, dependence on oil is still incredibly high: 98% of the exports, even more than 60% of the imports. Can't a little more to overcome this immense dependence on oil be done?"
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Maybe, I'm sure, more could have been done. Commander Chavez proposed the national development project, and he personally was behind the industrial development projects, behind the agricultural development of the country, he reformulated... But, Rafael, I have also put myself behind each one of the plans. I have defined 16 development engines. 16 motors of real development. I am not taking them out of the biosphere, I am taking them out of the economic, industrial and technological reality of the country. But I can tell you as a reflection: it is difficult to transform the economic model installed for 100 years."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "But, president... This is a conversation, with the trust I have in you, I have to tell you that the rental model continues. In Venezuela, gasoline, for example, is practically free, literally free. The bolivar depreciated so much that a litre of gas costs something infinitesimal. A tank..."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "It is paid for being used."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "A fuel tank... You pay the tip to the one who distributes your gasoline. A tanker that could cost 100,000 dollars in Colombia, with the cost of gasoline in Venezuela, costs 25, 40 dollars. We are giving away gasoline, national wealth, a non-renewable resource. What can be done about it?"
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "To correct that situation. Now, the political situation of a country must always be put on top of those factors. A decision of this kind, the installation of a new system of prices and charging for gasoline, which will have to come sooner rather than later, has to take into account that we are facing a great international conspiracy. International! Permanent conspiracy, which seeks to use any political factor, any economic factor, any social factor, to generate violence, to generate the conditions for the country's intervention. We are currently threatened, Rafael, as you know, with a military intervention, a military naval blockade and thousand forms of political and economic aggression by the most powerful empire in the world. So we have to think things through, when to do them, how to do them. Perhaps this has delayed the rectification of key elements, such as your criticism of the price of gasoline and its subsidies."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "Lenin used to say: “Politics are "Politics is a concentrated economy." Sooner or later, that economic situation..."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "[Vladimir] Ilich Uliánov-Lenin, right?"
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "Oh, yes, the good old Lenin. [laughs] [That economic situation] has an impact on the political side, but it's clear. People perhaps don't know - and consume what the media tell them, [media] that don't inform, but manipulate - but Venezuela doesn't have sanctions, it has aggressions. Even if they were sanctions, with what right? According to what international legal framework? It is only the abuse and imposition of a hegemonic country, an aggression..."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "I would even say…"
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "...against a sovereign country. No one can accept such a thing."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Even Rafael, I say the following: there have been recent cases in history, such as Saddam Hussein's in Iraq (whatever one thinks of Saddam Hussein), after the first war in 90-91, the United Nations Security Council took economic, trade and financial sanctions against Saddam Hussein and Iraq. The Security Council was not a country that did so unilaterally. And it was the Security Council itself that later opened a gate so that Saddam Hussein could buy medicines, supplies and food in exchange for oil tankers. It was called 'oil for medicine', 'oil for food'. Venezuela has no Security Council sanctions, Venezuela has an aggression through unilateral US illegal sanctions and does not even have the gate at this moment. That is why I say something that is not exaggerated. It's not an exaggeration, Rafael. I say it here in your prestigious program. Donald Trump has a kind of obsession and hatred against the Latin American people in general, against refugees, against immigrants, but he has a special hatred against the people of Venezuela, against our history. And Donald Trump is attacking the Venezuelan people with that hatred. I compare it with the era of Hitler, with the same, the same vision that Hitler imposed against the Jews, against the Jewish people of Europe before the war, before the year 39."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "Speaking about democracy, they tell us that in Venezuela there is no democracy, that you are an usurper."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "A dictator."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "I think no one can question the March elections, the 2013 elections, when you won by a narrow margin, but you clearly beat Enrique Capriles. But then you lost the congressional elections, don't you? And the opposition wins, and with a broad majority. And what you do is call a Constituent Assembly that has been questioned because certain restrictions were put in place. Can you explain something to us about that?"
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Yes, we… Look, some figures: in 20 years of revolution we had 25 elections in Venezuela."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "Yes, I have never seen a dictatorship with so many elections."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Yes, It is a strange dictatorship."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "And besides, you lose them sometimes."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Yes. 25 elections. For presidents, governors, mayors, for the National Assembly. Of those 25, the Bolivarian forces of Chavismo have won 23 elections. In 2015 there was another election, and we lost the National Assembly by a wide margin. The economic war had already begun in 2015, and the aggression against the government, of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama, was well advanced. And then came the years 2016 and 2017, of conspiracy, of trying to overthrow me. A thousand things that the opposition did from the new National Assembly of Parliament, and then the violent 'guarimbas' [violent groups against Maduro] of 2017. It was before the 'guarimbas' of 2017 that I looked into the Constitution and though about how we could overcome this difficult moment that was putting us on the verge of a civil war, and I called for the popular constituent process. It was impressive, Rafael, how the country was pacified. The same day the Constituent was installed, the 'guarimbas' ended."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "But it is necessary to say that the ‘guarimbas’ killed 127 people."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "127 killed."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "And they want to let those deaths go unpunished."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Including 29 Venezuelans burned alive."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "For being chavistas."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "For being chavistas... They don't want the world to see this. Or they cover it up."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "But the constituent process has been widely criticised: because representatives were put in place by [social] sectors, and that meant giving an advantage to the ruling party."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "No, that's a beauty, I'd say, it's the other way around. More than a criticism, it's an advantage. It's a social constituent. Because the social sectors elected their constituent delegates."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "And the year 2018 came. Presidential elections. No one can question the transparency of the elections. There was an opposition candidate, Henri Falcón, but it is questioned whether the main opposition leaders were prevented from participating."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Well, this is the upside down world, as Galeano used to say. The opposition was asking for 'an immediate snap presidential election' during the years 2015, 2016 and 2017. And during a dialogue table we had in the Dominican Republic, it [the elections] was set to take place in the first quarter of the year. When the agreement was going to be signed, they withdrew from the agreement. And the election date was set for May 20. They stood up, Rafael, to receive a call from the former Secretary of State, Tillerson, to the chief negotiator, Julio Borges, who was in the Dominican Republic, where Donald Trump's government told him not to participate in the elections. They had a strategy, the strategy they are following now: ignoring the rule of law, trying to impose a self-proclaimed parallel government, trying to impose parallel institutions, trying to lead Venezuela into a process of internal division, confrontation, coup d'état. All this was thought out. When the United States declared in February 2018 (the dialogue table had not yet been lifted), when the United States declared that they would not recognize any presidential election in Venezuela, it was because they already had a strategy of maximum pressure, of maximum aggression and of trying to burst internal political life. That is why during the May 20 elections, the participation of other candidates, among them Henri Falcón, and an important candidate from the evangelical sectors of the opposition, with the surname Bertucci, was a practically heroic act of the national institutionality."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "And January 2019 came. It was your turn to start, to position yourself for your new six-year term, after winning the 2018 elections. But a terrible offensive of the opposition also began, ignoring you. The arguments were never clear. They simply did not like the result of the elections. But there was something quite folkloric, very peculiar, I don't think there is a precedent in the world of a congressman who got 60,000 votes and who in a street proclaimed himself president of the Republic. But the most extraordinary thing... Everyone has freedom of expression, they have the right to make a fool of themselves, but the most extraordinary thing is that it was recognized by dozens of countries, and beginning with the United States, because they did not like the Venezuelan political system, the result of the elections. They don't have the right to do that, but they did, didn't they? And they recognized Guaidó, that has created greater problems. What do you have to tell us about it?"
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "That they failed. The strategy of a parallel government, of a parallel power supported by the government of the United States and its allied governments of Latin America, of the Lima Group, failed. It failed, it was unfeasible."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "I couldn't believe it. Even Europe, the Europe of lights, of the Enlightenment, recognising a guy who proclaimed himself president on the streets without having won any presidential election."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Rafael…"
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "I couldn't believe it."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "The European oligarchies that have real power are carnal allies of American power. Carnal allies! And to Europe, Donald Trump has imposed his extremist policy against Venezuela. Unfortunately, Europe is on its knees when it comes to Venezuela, the extremist policy that led them to failure. And the most perverse and collateral elements of its failure will be seen in the months to come, so don't miss the news about Venezuela, of what will be the deepening of the failure of this model of coup d'état that those of the north tried to impose and that we have defeated with morality, democracy and the Constitution in hand."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "Well, I have really enjoyed this conversation, I hope you've enjoyed it too."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "I am very grateful."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "No. thank you, Nicolas. There is no such thing as neutrality. One always has the heart somewhere, I think Latin America is clear about where my heart is: with social causes, with justice, with the great homeland. Honesty doesn't mean being neutral, that's impossible. Intellectual honesty means: in spite of the partiality we have, in spite of our ideological inclination for sympathies, trying to keep objectivity. I hope that in this conversation I could have been objective. But when I finish, I'm going to break that objectivity and say: good luck to Venezuela, glory to the brave people."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "That's right."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "Thank you very much, Nicolas."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Thank you, Rafael."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "To you too."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "God bless you and Ecuador."
Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (Spanish): "Thank you."
Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (Spanish): "Thank you."
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gave a wide-ranging interview to RT host and Ecuador's ex-premier Rafael Correa from the Miraflores Palace in Caracas.
He answered questions about media coverage, economic sanctions against Venezuela, migrants who abandoned the Bolivarian Republic and doubts over his democratic credentials.
This was the the final episode of this series of Conversation with Correa on RT en Español.