Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro has threatened an “armed revolution” should he lose this month’s presidential election.
“If someday a government was in power that intended to hand over [our] riches, I would be the first one to raise the alarm, grab a gun and start an armed revolution with the people, if necessary,” he declared in front of supporters in Vargas. “I would be the first one to do it, and call the people to arms.”
Maduro’s only credible opposition is Henri Falcón, a former ally of President Hugo Chávez and leader of the ‘Progressive Alliance’ party, who has declared that he will “sweep Maduro out of power” and unite the country in “saving Venezuela.”
Some of his campaign promises include securing international assistance to ease the strain of the country’s humanitarian crisis, creating a “conditional cash transfer” system aimed at eradicating hunger and the freeing of all political prisoners.
There are also a handful of fringe leftist candidates from the Venezuelan Communist Party, the Popular Venezuelan Union (UPV) party, and the Fatherland for All (PPT).
Yet the vote, which takes place later this month, is widely expected to be rigged in favor of Maduro after he banned most opposition candidates from running, with most regional and international powers claiming that they will not recognize the results.
“I don’t give a damn what Europe says. I don’t give a damn about what Washington says,” he continued. “I only care about what Venezuela’s youth, Venezuela’s women and Venezuela’s workers say. That’s what’s important to me.”
On Thursday, the main opposition coalition, Democratic Unity Roundtable, called on Venezuelans to boycott the election.
“Don’t take part and leave the streets empty,” the coalition said in a statement, adding that it would be a clear sign “rejecting Maduro’s regime and electoral fraud.”
Since seizing power in 2013, Maduro has transformed Venezuela into a socialist dictatorship through the repeated rigging of elections.
The country is also experiencing the worst economic and humanitarian crisis in its history, with millions of people suffering from malnutrition and lacking basic living resources such as medicine, sanitary products, and electricity.