Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro responded to the announcement of expanded sanctions on his regime on behalf of the Obama administration yesterday in an extensive public broadcast in which he repeatedly called President Obama “nefarious” and claimed the United States had organized a false-flag style operation to make it appear that Maduro had bombed his own government buildings.
In a more than two-hour speech condemning the new sanctions on Venezuela, which prohibit a number of high-ranking officials from doing business in the United States and label the Maduro regime a “national security threat,” Maduro railed against the sanctions “obscenity” and claimed “victory” in thwarting numerous American conspiracies. Paramount among them, described as the “fifth” step in a plot to destabilize and subsequently occupy Venezuela, Maduro claimed that President Obama had planned “a violent attack that would involve bringing in planes from the exterior.”
“They had planned a violent attack with planes they were going to bring in from abroad, disguising them as Venezuelan military [aircraft],” Maduro said, alleging that the planes would strike various government buildings. The objective of the attack would be to “provoke general chaos in the country with the goal of intervening in Venezuela.”
“President Obama has taken the most aggressive, unjust, and nefarious step that has ever been taken against Venezuela,” Maduro claimed, accusing President Obama of “creating Al Qaeda, Bin Laden, and the Islamic State.” “You created terrorism in the world,” he declared. “You have decided to sink into the pit of history,” he said, addressing President Obama. “You will be remembered as a nefarious president for Latin America.”
In addition to his speech, Maduro has responded to the new sanctions by promoting one of the individuals banned from doing business in the United States, General Gustavo González López, to Minister of the Interior.
The alleged plot to bomb Venezuelan government buildings and blame it on the socialist government also surfaced in comments made by National Assembly President and second-in-command Diosdado Cabello, who mentioned that the United States had plans of “bombings” and “threats” in a speech yesterday. “Mr. Obama, if we must be hungry, we will be hungry, but we will never lose our people’s dignity,” he proclaimed.
The alleged coup plots have become a common theme among Venezuelan officials. In early February, Maduro asserted that Vice President Joe Biden was personally responsible for organizing the overthrow of his government. The announcement coincided with a number of abrupt arrests, including the capture of Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma by secret police (Sebin), for allegedly participating in the planning of a coup.
State violence, particularly against anti-socialist protesters, has escalated exponentially since protestors began to rally consistently against the government in February 2014, when opposition leader Leopoldo López was arrested. Homicides of minors by police officers have increased 55% in the past year, a problem underscored by the murder of 14-year-old Kluiverth Roa for allegedly yelling “stop the repression” at a police officer who stopped him on his way home from school.