"The British Government continually kowtows to the Trump administration on Latin America, including Venezuela. After the disastrous interventions in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere you would hope they would learn the lessons but it seems not," a former London mayor and the honorary president of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (VSC) Ken Livingstone, said.
According to Livingstone, Washington "has been ramping up its 'regime change' strategy" toward Venezuela for some time — both directly and through its right-wing proxies within the Latin American country and the region.
"It sets a very worrying precedent internationally and is totally against international law. Also, of course, it’s all about getting the US’ hands on Venezuela’s oil reserves," he argued.
Speaking about Venezuela’s economic woes, Livingstone noted that "a lot of the blame for this" rested with the United States, whose sanctions contributed much to the crisis and actually hit the poorest.
"There have been problems in Venezuelan economic policy that many of us who are friends of the country have identified for some time, around lack of investment in particular, but, in addition of course to the collapse of oil prices in recent years. US sanctions have hit the economy incredibly hard, and hit ordinary people, especially the poorest, the hardest. These sanctions are opposed by a majority of both pro-and anti-government Venezuelans, which is not surprising as they are all about ‘regime change’ rather than helping the people of the country," he said.
Livingstone also dismissed the allegations that Venezuela rested on a fraudulent electoral system, instead of maintaining that last year's vote — not recognized by the West and the opposition — was competitive and credible.
"Maduro won last year’s presidential election with 68 percent of the vote, with some opposition parties taking part and others choosing to boycott of their own accord. International observers including representatives from the Council of Electoral Experts from Latin America confirmed the validity of the result," he said.
The remarks come a day after Prime Minister Theresa May's government endorsed the speaker of the opposition-run Venezuelan National Assembly, who proclaimed himself interim president of the troubled Latin American republic on Wednesday. The United States became the first country to recognize Guaido. Since that, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru followed suit. Other states, such as Russia, China, Mexico, voiced their support for Nicholas Maduro as the country's legitimate president.
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