Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that he intends to devote his entire life to serving the Venezuelan people, adding that "heaven" protected him last year so that he can do that.
"Do you remember how on August 4 last year they tried to kill me with a drone with explosives? Who defended me? Heaven, our God. He allowed me to live for something, and I know why — in order to devote my whole life to the happiness of our people, to the prosperity of our country," Maduro, whose speech to supporters was broadcast on Twitter, said.
Agradezco al pueblo venezolano por la resistencia, la lealtad y el decidido respaldo a mi gobierno durante este año, en el que hemos enfrentado duras pruebas, agresiones y bloqueos imperiales. Con lealtad, patriotismo y esfuerzo permanente avanzaremos de victoria en victoria. pic.twitter.com/XS0YhOOiY8— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) 20 мая 2019 г.
Speaking at a Monday rally, Maduro vowed to protect Venezuela, despite his wishes for dialogue.
"I believe in dialogue," he said. "Yes to dialogue, yes to peace, no to violence, no to coup, no to gringo invasion."
"I believe in dialogue, but I'm ready to protect the homeland when and where it's needed," he added. "We all are ready to protect our homeland, together with our Armed Forces and the Militia."
Mi compromiso con el pueblo venezolano se sostiene de tres pilares fundamentales: la defensa de la estabilidad política, la protección social y el crecimiento económico. Esa es la fórmula para derrotar las agresiones imperiales y avanzar hacia la prosperidad. ¡Venceremos! pic.twitter.com/WLjRFkukDm— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) 20 мая 2019 г.
Monday marked one year since Maduro was re-elected to the presidency. According to a report by Venezolana de Television, thousands of Venezuelans took part in the anniversary celebrations in Caracas. Maduro won the 2018 election, securing almost 6.2 million votes, while his next competitor, Henri Falcon, received 1.9 million votes.
Earlier in May, Guaido admitted that he would seek to establish a "direct relationship" with the Pentagon. The opposition ambassador met with DoD, State Department officials Monday.
At the end of April, Guaido attempted to organise a coup, calling on the country's military to join him in an effort to overthrow Maduro, but those efforts failed. After the failed attempt, several opposition figures fled the country, while the Venezuelan Army remained loyal to the elected president.
Guaido's bid is recognized by the US and a number of Latin American and EU states. Russia, China and other states recognize Maduro as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.