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(TELESUR ENGLISH) – Government officials say they are fighting a US-led right-wing conspiracy determined to end socialism in Latin America, hobble Venezuela’s economy and steal its oil wealth.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has confirmed he will run for re-election just hours after the Constituent Assembly announced that snap polls are due to open by April 30.
Government officials say they are fighting a US-led right-wing conspiracy determined to end socialism in Latin America, hobble Venezuela’s economy and steal its oil wealth.
“Donald Trump is not the boss of Venezuela!” thundered Maduro at a rally late on Tuesday. “The people rule in Venezuela, not empires. I’m ready… We’re going to win big.”
Foreign sanctions against Maduro’s government, including a US prohibition on investors dealing with any new Venezuelan debt, have exacerbated food and medicine shortages.
But with Maduro having survived violent protests last year and consolidated his party’s hold off government branches after winning three elections last year, the international pressure has now given him a powerful rallying cry to seek re-election.
Two opposition leaders, Henry Ramos and Henri Falcon, have already announced presidential aspirations, but both are divisive figures: Ramos is seen as too old-school by many, while Falcon recently lost a re-election bid for governor of Lara state.
Announcing his would-be candidacy on Wednesday, Falcon said the government was incapable of resolving the country’s crisis: “We need to get rid of this rubbish government, democratically.”
If opposition hardliners campaign for a boycott of the election, that would complicate plans by the Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition to hold a primary election to choose its best candidate. Leaders of the major MUD parties are meeting late Wednesday to discuss strategy and possible primaries.