Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro once again ruled out stepping away from his socialist regime, telling Russian propaganda outlet RT Tuesday that he expects to retire from politics at age 90 and live in Caracas.
The news agency asked Maduro if he would consider taking up White House National Security Advisor John Bolton’s suggestion that he and his cronies pursue “a long, quiet retirement, living on a nice beach somewhere far from Venezuela.”
“I will retire with my grandchildren and great-grandchildren when I turn 90 in a Caracas neighborhood, in the Ávila mountain or on a beach in Cata,” responded Maduro.
Bolton is currently leading the Trump administration’s efforts to remove Maduro from power and replace him with a democratic alternative, namely in the form of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, recently sworn in by the Venezuelan National Assembly as the country’s legitimate president.
I wish Nicolas Maduro and his top advisors a long, quiet retirement, living on a nice beach somewhere far from Venezuela. They should take advantage of President Guaido’s amnesty and move on. The sooner the better.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) January 31, 2019
Maduro added that he would need at least another ten years to achieve his vision of a fully socialist Venezuela. During his six years in power, Maduro has succeeded in bring the country to the worst economic and humanitarian crisis in its history.
“I believe that Venezuela is going to need at least ten more years in the propping up of a solid productive apparatus, from the sustainable technological point of view, and that it generates enough diversity in national wealth so as not to depend on one single product: oil,” he said.
“There will definitely be new leaders. Many said when Commander Chávez died that the revolution was over,” he continued. “But Chávez had built and formed a collective leadership. He gave me the baton at the time, he gave me the confidence, and I have been at the forefront of the revolution for six years. Rest assured that there is a collective leadership to take over from Maduro at any time.”
Maduro has lost the support of the majority of Venezuelans, who have rallied around Guaidó in hope that he will bring an end to the repression and economic calamity inflicted by Maduro’s socialist regime. Democracies around the world have supported Guaidó’s efforts to remove Maduro from office. The U.S. most recently imposed sanctions designed to further the country’s state-run oil industry, a vital source of revenue for the regime.
Maduro still retains the crucial backing of the country’s military as well as authoritarian regimes including Russia, Iran, Syria, and North Korea and has refused to exit the presidential palace.