Venezuelan military heads declares allegiance to Maduro
Petroleumworld 01 25 2019
Venezuela´s military leaders declared support for Nicolas Maduro as president and vowed to "categorically reject all actions to install a parallel government" led by Juan Guaidó.
The declaration sets up a potentially explosive standoff in the Opec country, where the US, Canada, and most of Latin America recognized Guaidó as interim president yesterday. Russia, China and Turkey back Maduro. State-owned oil company PdV and its joint ventures with foreign companies are operating as usual for now, but there is apprehension over where Venezuela is headed, oil industry officials tells Argus .
At least 14 Venezuelans have died in clashes with security forces since 22 January, according to Venezuelan human rights group Provea.
"We are here to avoid confrontation between Venezuelans," defense minister Vladimir Padrino said before reading from a prepared statement that was echoed by a similar declaration issued simultaneously by the military´s regional command (REDI).
The military calls for "serious dialogue" but warns the opposition that efforts to install Guaidó as president "are very dangerous for the integrity of Venezuela and social peace," Padrino read.
He said Venezuela´s military "recognizes president Nicolas Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela elected by a majority on May 20, 2018," referring to Maduro´s re-election that the US and many other governments deem illegitimate.
Flanked by the military´s highest-ranking officers, Padrino accused the US government explicitly of orchestrating an international campaign to topple Maduro's presidency. "This is a coup against our legitimate president Nicolas Maduro," Padrino said. The military "ratifies its unrestricted support for the constitution and national laws."
Padrino said Venezuela's armed forces "reject the vulgar interventionism of foreign governments that do not respect international rule of law and the right self-determination."
He added that the military "will guarantee the peace and the correct functioning of our institutions, and we will not tolerate violent groups."
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