Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said Wednesday that Latin America will be a region where in 2020 integration will prevail over the imposed interests of neocolonialism. “The continent is an area in dispute and I am sure that in the years to come, in this year 2020 we will have very good news of how that dispute prioritizes the nationalist, independence, and integrationist interests of Latin America, over the interests of the monroist project, the interests of the Bolívar project and our liberators, over the outdated neo-colonial project, of the trumpist monroism, that they have tried to impose on us,” he said during the first interview of the year granted to the Spanish journalist Ignacio Ramonet.
He explained that this dispute was evident in Bolivia, with the coup d’état against the indigenous leader Evo Morales on November 10; which he said is “still underway” and he evaluated the de facto government that was installed in the hands of Jeanine Áñez, asserting that it has only managed to accommodate economic groups and deliver natural wealth to imperialism.
In the case of Argentina – where Alberto Fernández was inaugurated as president last December 10 -, the national President said that there was no social explosion since there is a powerful social and political movement led by Peronism managed to channel an electoral mobilization to put an end to the neoliberalism imposed by Mauricio Macri for four years.
“All the aggression against ALBA (The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) is part of that struggle where imperialism intends to impose elites subordinated to their interests to govern and impose their model,” he said.
Neoliberal model sold out
During the interview, the Venezuelan head of state warned that the neo-liberal political model is going through an exhaustion that is reflected in the questioning of the capitalist world about the consequences of its application that discard people’s social and human rights.
“We are attending a second cycle of exhaustion of the destructive neoliberal model and there is a questioning in the world of neoliberal capitalism and its destructive effects on people’s social rights, on employment, on pensions, on public education, on public health. It is a global questioning, in Europe, France and all of Europe,” he emphasized.
In addition, he recalled that the criticisms are also directed to climate change as a catastrophe that has been denounced to raise awareness of those who can generate the necessary changes and affirmed that organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) are not the answer for social justice, the development of peoples or for climate change.
In reference to the United States (US), President Maduro expects that the confrontation in the electoral field will intensify in January and will also depend on what is generated during the impeachment process against President Donald Trump for obstruction and abuse of power.
“Today, nobody can say what results there will be in the US elections, nobody! If there will be four more years of Trump, or if it will be a Democratic candidate, ”he said.
Full interview with President Nicolás Maduro
By Ignacio Ramonet
Ignacio Ramonet: Good evening, Mr. President, I would like first of all to thank you for granting me this interview, the first of the year 2020. Our conversations are already transforming into a journalistic tradition, because every January first, for several years, we have the opportunity to talk to make a critical assessment of the past year, in this case 2019, and on the other hand to analyze the perspectives and projects of the year 2020. I wish, this time, that we could talk about three topics: Venezuelan internal policy, economy, and also international politics both at the planetary level and at the Latin American level.
I would like to start with a first question about Venezuelan politics. There are going to be three questions for each topic. The year 2019 has been a year of strong intensity for Venezuela, particularly at the beginning of the year, when there was an attempted coup d’etat, supported by the United States and other countries, with the self-proclamation of Juan Guaidó; then, on February 23, there was that attempt to invade from the border with Colombia, with the “battle of the bridges”, under the pretext of humanitarian aid, and so on … However, you end this year 2019 presiding over a much more stable country that other States in the region that were in the front line to criticize, attack and even threaten Venezuela; I think of Colombia, I think of Chile, in particular,
President Nicolás Maduro: Well first of all I want to transmit to you and transmit to all those who listen to us and see us, my best wishes and all the blessings for the year 2020. The year 2020 has arrived and the third decade of the XXI century begins , incredible that we are already in the third decade. Indeed, these conversations already mark, from the political communicational point of view, a special moment, because we hold them on the first of January, we can carry out the evaluation of what we did, of what it was and what we plan to do, everyone can search the reference from year to year, to verify something very important, the coherence of the discourse and the practice of the action of the Bolivarian revolution. It’s very important.
What is the secret weapon, the key weapon so that the Bolivarian revolution has the capacity to face, to overcome so many aggressions, so many attacks, so many world campaigns, how many aggressions have we called multiform, multidimensional for the economy, to society, to politics, to institutions … what is our secret formula? That we have a real project, a national project, that this project has the legitimacy and support of the real people. We are real, I always say, like the wood of this table; we are real, we have a people, we have a democracy with its freedoms, we have solid institutions, well constituted according to the Constitution of the republic, we are real … what is the key, the secret weapon? I repeat: that we are for real, we have a legitimacy in the popular vote and we have strengthened institutions, and in addition Commander Chávez founded, or recast for this historical period of the 21st century, the civic union, the concept of Bolívar, the concept of the “general of the sovereign people” Ezequiel Zamora, a historical concept of the stellar moments of Venezuelan history, the concept of the military and civic union, a revolutionary union. It is not any ordinary military-civic union, no, it is the military-civic union to make revolution, to make a homeland, to build the Republic. That historical concept was consolidated, and we maintain it with great force, we maintain it as a vital spirit of the development of events in Venezuela.
And I believe that this is what gives us this permanent renewal of energy, of strength, of the real political power to face all circumstances and for us to overcome above all, and maintain the development of the Simón Bolívar national project, in any scenario that we have lived or we will have to live.
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IR: President, the year 2019 has indeed been a year of strong attacks, and in particular the strengthening of unilateral coercive measures, what some call “sanctions” imposed by the United States against Venezuela, against the revolution; It has also been a year in which the financial blockade and the commercial blockade have continued to attack the country. I wanted to ask about the social investment, the social project, the social redistribution, the Bolivarian revolution project in that sense, has it been sustained? We have seen lately that you could deliver house number 3 million, which is a prodigy in itself at the international level, to what extent is that delivery of the house 3 million characteristic of the extension, of the continuity of the social investment policy of the Bolivarian Revolution?
President Nicolás Maduro : Well, a social model has been built. I could tell you, Ramonet, that our social model has been tested in the worst circumstances, because if the social model, we could reflect, will work with a price of a barrel of oil at one hundred and something dollars, exporting two million barrels, without penalties, without blocking, without limitations on having bank accounts in the world and making payments, transactions …
Well that would be a virtue, without a doubt, a virtue, to start the distribution of wealth and invest it in public education for all, public health for all, public housing, culture, etc., etc., development, employment generation, income, pensions. It was a virtue in all that time when the growth of oil revenue began without any sanctions … But that the social programs, the social public policy of the revolution, to favor the development of social rights and distribute wealth, has passed from this stage, almost zero income from foreign exchange, sanctions, financial persecution … Remember that we were robbed, this year 2019, of about 30 billion dollars, the United States government and its internal accomplices, the Venezuelan fascist right … It is a great virtue of the social model founded by Commander Chávez, we call it the model of missions (social programs) and great missions, so that in the world they listen to us, it is the model that guaranteed the building of and the delivery of the 3 million housing [units], homes of absolute quality, 65, 70, 80 square meters, urban areas where the habitat is taken care of; not only housing but habitat, and we are heading for 5 million homes.
We will not stop, this year we will build and deliver more than 500 thousand homes and I have set a new goal of 5 million homes by 2025, which we will achieve because we are going to keep up the pace of building 500 thousand homes per year … a country of barely 30 million inhabitants … so that everyone can get their houses, there are 3 million humble homes, workers, teachers, military, police who now have their home, humble ones.
We have maintained free and quality public education, including expanding school enrollment in initial (pre-school), primary, secondary and university education. We have had an expansion of 6 percent of school enrollment this year, an important expansion and improving quality, delivering all their books and materials to students, and thus we have made a great effort … Where we have been hit the most by blockade, sanctions and all this evil of the American empire, is in healthcare.
We have made an immense effort to maintain the supply of medicines. Ah, difficult! Because the bank accounts are being chased, they are chasing the planes and the ships that are coming to bring medicines to Venezuela so that they do not bring them, they are chasing the spare parts of the modern equipment that we have in the Barrio Adentro I health system, Barrio Adentro II, the hateful persecution that the United States government and its allies have undertaken against Venezuela, to destroy the health system, is impressive.
But I can tell you: we have resisted, we have maintained the free public health system, and maintained a level of quality that we must raise… So the social model of missions and great missions, has passed a great test and has demonstrated its efficiency and its capacity to tend to the majorities, especially the most humble.
I can give you a specific data, we have maintained over 75 percent of the nation’s budget, social investment in housing, education, health, culture, food, the social rights of the people. And in the budget that has just been approved for the year 2020, which will govern the year 2020, we have increased comprehensive social investment to 76 percent.
IR: President, this year there will also be legislative elections in Venezuela, which shows that democracy in Venezuela is alive, contrary to what many adversaries claim. These elections also result from agreements that currently exist – well they result from the normal democratic and electoral calendar – but your government has managed to establish a dialogue table with a part of the opposition to be able to establish democratic, collective guarantees and conditions, so that the elections can be carried out with a broad consensus, beyond the forces that support the government. What do you expect from these legislative elections?
President Nicolás Maduro: Correct. It must be said that these will be the 26th elections, in 20 years of democracy … Of the 25 previous elections that the Bolivarian forces of the revolution have had, the Chavista forces, we have won 23, we must always remember that, of 25 elections we have won 23, we really are, we are a political, historical, moral reality. The opposition has won 2 elections: in 2007, a constitutional reform, won by about 20 thousand votes, and Commander Chávez came to recognize the result immediately; and in 2015, they beat us in a painful parliamentary election.
When I had the result of many elections, and it was public, I went instantly to recognize it: the opposition had won, we had to recognize it … because there were sectors of Chavismo that were upset and wanted to go out to demonstrate. I said, let’s abide by the rules of the game, we accept the painful, hard results … 2015, everything that has happened, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, how they have used the National Assembly to conspire, to economically damage Venezuela, to try to impose a coup d’etat, to summon a foreign military invasion by the US empire and its allies, with the TIAR (Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Alliance) everything they have done … They have destroyed the National Assembly – Ramonet – the national representative body. According to all the surveys, this National Assembly has been a failure, it has been useless for the interests of the country,
We, at the national dialogue table with important sectors of the opposition, have taken steps to build all the extraordinary electoral guarantees, to guarantee elections of the National Assembly, the Legislative Power, very participatory and that are a democratic, political success for the country. I can tell you, I can tell you in advance, practically today, that is going to be like this: all the opposition political forces and their bases, and their regional leaders who have the votes, are ready to participate in the National Assembly elections.
The extremist sector to which the United States handed over the power of the opposition, the guaidosista extremist sector is going to be isolated and defeated, in advance, in their attempt to sabotage the parliamentary elections. We will have parliamentary elections in 2020 and they will be highly participatory … And I can tell you that the Bolivarian forces of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and the homeland block, the Bolivarian Congress of Peoples, the Great Patriotic Pole, we will get a great victory and we are going to recover the National Assembly for peace, for political stability, for the high interests of the country … That is how it’s going to be, you can write it down today January 1st of the year 2020, it is the year of recovery of the National Assembly, be sure of that.
IR: President, let’s talk about economics. All observers currently estimate that Venezuela’s economy is doing better, despite the attacks, despite the blockade, and one of the novelties of what happens in the Venezuelan economy is this phenomenon of “dollarization,” let’s say in any case the big cities, in the economy of proximity, there is a dollarization that is developing … I would like to know to what extent it is a decision that you have taken and to what extent do you think that dollarization can favor the development of the Venezuelan economy?
President Nicolás Maduro: In the economy you have to be very realistic, very objective, know the phenomena that arise and learn to take them, to drive them, so that the phenomena of the economy, especially in a Bolivarian, revolutionary, socialist project like ours, point to the satisfaction of national interests, to the satisfaction of the needs, of the majorities and of the people. Dollarization – so called – is an economic reality. I could tell you that the Venezuelan economy has always been dollarized Ramonet, in one hundred years it was dollarized with the petrodollar economy and there was a subsidized economy with billions of dollars and all imported products were bought and the economy worked with the petrodollars, we spent 35 thousand, 40 billion dollars annually on imports of all kinds, of all kinds, from the necessary fundamental goods, food, raw materials, industrial inputs; even luxury goods, whiskey, luxury, etc.
Now we suffer, as we have suffered, first the increase, the brutal decline – as never before in history – of oil prices, induced by US policy as we denounced it, and then it was demonstrated. We went 36 months with the lowest prices that have ever been known, that brutally reduced the income of the State, of the country and that led to a tremendous reduction of imports, added at the time to the negative, product of the international economic war, of all the international banks not giving a single dollar, in credit, in loans of various kinds to the country. A total drought of dollars, after that came this stage, 2017, 2018, 2019, of sanctions, financial persecution, theft of cash, theft of assets abroad.
And we had to go self-regulating the state spending, prioritizing until the last dollar that we received to buy medicines, food, vital supplies … and the economy began to self-regulate, self-regulate and practically a good part of the things that were imported and were sold with the state oil dollar, they began to be imported with the private dollar, that is what is now known as dollarization, it is an economic zone where prices are effectively dollarized, where things are sold in the dollar, in the Euro and in some cases they are also sold in bolivars at exorbitant prices.
I would say, at this stage of the game, that it is an economic reality of the process of self-regulation of the economy and we are conducting public policies so that this economic reality serves the interests of the country’s growth and serves the interests of the satisfaction of the needs of the majority… There are many public policies, one of them is the petro that everyone already knows, which we can develop later. And we are looking for answers.
I said it these days, it could be a sin what I’m going to say, but it doesn’t seem bad to me that the economy has self-regulated in the resistance stage, we are in a resistance economy and today we are living with three monetary spaces, a bolivar in combat, tough, we defending it, national currency that will always exist; some currencies, dollars, euros moving around in the economy and helping the economy of resistance to breathe; and the petro that has entered progressively in a profound way and that serves to complement, oil the dollarized economy. There we are playing, working, we are playing the game of economic stability, of economic growth, and we are already at the doors of economic growth.
So I think they are phenomena that have to be carefully observed, that have to be well conducted so that they do not revert against the population, but help the growth and recovery of an economy besieged, attacked, blocked, sanctioned, brutally like no other economy of the world, we could only say the Cuban one and us, there is no other economy in the world against which the United States uses all its financial, economic, commercial power to attack it. But aggression has created intelligent answers, answers of autoregulation, and I think this year 2020 will be one of managing this situation for the good of the majority.
GO: President, you just cited the petro, and your government has first created the petro and defended this cryptocurrency, and you have repeatedly declared your confidence in the petro, do you think the petro can contribute in particular to combat one of the worst consequences of this economic situation that is inflation?
President Nicolás Maduro: I think so. The petro was born in a difficult situation, of economic aggression; Petro’s constructive architecture has emerged from innovation, from political, technological creation, from Venezuelan hands and minds. The petro is a Venezuelan creation, made in Venezuela, is a cryptocurrency, backed by five billion barrels of oil, in the Ayacucho Block of the Orinoco Oil Belt.
That has as physical, effective support, 30 million barrels of oil and products that we have in the strategic reserves of Venezuela for immediate use, and that has as support the wealth of gold, iron and bauxite of the country … It has a solid backup, it is a cryptocurrency, the only one in the world, backed by wealth and that has served us step by step, from the technological point of view … It is not easy [to field] a cryptocurrency in the world of the 21st century, it has already been installed. It has served to make some important international purchases, very important, and now I just did a drill in December, I gave half petro to public workers, 3 million 500 thousand, and half petro of petroaguinaldo (end of year bonus), from aguinaldo decembrino, as a drill, to 4 million 500 thousand pensioners, that is 8 million adult Venezuelans, 8 million, we could say there are almost 6 million families impacted by the petro; and I can say that the trial is going very well.
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They are technological processes, the physical currency is not used and the people has had its petroaguinaldo, it has been making it effective in its accounts. Some have saved it as savings in their PetroApp, so called, others have gone out to buy at retail stores and it yields for them, the petro yields a lot, and others have gone out to buy other things for the end of the year parties … It’s a great rehearsal and the December rehearsal went very well, a great success. A group of merchants have tried to sabotage it, but we are already taking direct measures and we are going to be draconians with the merchants who want to speculate and fine them, they are harming the working people and the pensioners who have their own petro … Later we will have new trials and new surprises so that the petro. enters the internal commercial life of Venezuela, Also the petro will be used as it is being used to collect the sale of oil in Venezuela. We are going to sell Venezuelan oil in petros; We are already selling the iron and steel of Venezuela in petros, we already have contracts signed for the sale of oil, steel, iron, aluminum and we are going to sell part of the gold production in petros.
That means that the petro will not only serve for imports as it is serving, not only will it serve to protect Venezuelan workers, but it will also serve to sell our products and continue building the ecosystem of this cryptocurrency, which is the Bolivarian revolution’s response to economic aggression, to blockade, to sanctions, to the diabolical evil of the United States government.
IR: President, at this moment when the exit from the worst moment of the Venezuelan economy is glimpsed after all these blockades that remain. At this time, how would you identify the main knots that impede the further development of the Venezuelan economy?
President Nicolás Maduro: The main knot of all, you want me to tell you: economic aggression, financial persecution, the economic blockade of the US empire against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, that is the main knot to untie.
IR: Can you give us some examples?
President Nicolás Maduro: Of course. Look, Venezuela is a country undergoing persecution, all our bank accounts in the world have been frozen, the country cannot make payments in the world … whoever listens to me in the world, has all their bank accounts frozen and we cannot pay anything in the world … they persecute our purchases of medicines, they persecute our purchases of food, the government of the United States persecutes Venezuela so that it can not buy medicines, nor foods. We invented and managed to address and alleviate the situation with our people. A country that was frozen out, in cash, in cash! More than 15 billion dollars, our money, the country’s money, more than 15 billion dollars, a country of 30 million inhabitants, a country that was robbed of two fundamental basic companies,
A country that was robbed of another company in Colombia called Monómeros, a large company and now they have bankrupted it. So, if you talk to me about a knot, talk to me about blockade, persecution, brutal harassment, criminal, bloodthirsty – I would say – psychopathic, it is a psychopathic persecution by officials of the United States government against Venezuela.
Now, like this and all, I tell you that we can untie the knots with production, the key word for 2020, for the year 2020 is production, untie the knots for the production of the 16 engines of the Bolivarian agenda, of the Bolivarian economic agenda, keep moving forward in economic growth, we are at the doors of economic growth, we are waiting for the 2019 data, because the phenomenon might be seen in the last quarter, we could already put ourselves in zero growth, we are at the doors of economic growth, continue raising production levels, productivity of all levels of food, oil, gold, industrial production, continue to neutralize inflation … The impact is tremendous in the economic war that has induced inflation. We have managed to overcome hyperinflation in the second half of the year 2019. I am optimistic that we can achieve single-digit inflation this year 2020 and continue advancing in the construction of our own, sustainable economic model, made with effort, from the economy of resistance we have today, to an economy of growth, progress and prosperity that we are going to achieve.
IR: President, let’s talk about international politics now. And I would like you to share your analysis of the main phenomenon that is taking place in recent months in the world, which is this global protest that we have seen from Hong Kong to Chile, but passing through Haiti, Colombia, Ecuador, particularly in Latin America. How do you analyze what is happening at the level we would say almost generational of this moment in history in which the revolt of a group of countries occurs as it had not been seen since the 1960s, or as Marx had pointed out in 1848 when he spoke of the “spring of the peoples” that all revolted then in central Europe.
President Nicolás Maduro: I believe that we are attending a second cycle of exhaustion of the destructive neoliberal model and there is a questioning in the world of neoliberal capitalism and its destructive effects on people’s social rights, on employment, on pensions, in public education, in public health. It is a global questioning, in Europe, France and all of Europe.
In Latin America Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Haiti, Honduras, and throughout the world there is also a large, powerful questioning of the harmful effects on the environment, the climate, the so-called climate change by this developmental destructive capitalism… There are two elements of criticism of the neoliberal model, the element of criticism of the concentration of wealth, in the one percent, of the absence of social policies to guarantee social rights, of reversion, the return to social rights; and a second criticism of the issue of climate change that puts us – according to the scientists of the United Nations Organization – at the gates of a climate catastrophe as it has been denounced in Madrid recently, at the meeting of the COP Madrid, there is as well a rising of a great conscience.
I tell you that it is a second cycle, because we experienced the first cycle in the 1990s, in the late 1990s and it resulted in a progressive, revolutionary current in Latin America and the Caribbean that ruled almost every country of the continent, headed by Commander Hugo Chávez, by Lula Da Silva, by Néstor Kirchner, among others, by Tabaré, by Correa, Daniel Ortega, by Fidel, by Raúl.
A current, a progressive wave, which was the alternative response to the exhaustion of the first cycle as we could call it, of neoliberalism. Now we are in a second stage of exhaustion … Neoliberalism, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank have no answers either for social investment, or for the development of peoples, or for climate change, they were exhausted, a new model has to come and that model is marked by a great humanist conscience, collectivist and I would say, socialist of the 21st century.
IR: President, in Latin America, two events have marked the last months. On the one hand in Argentina, the electoral victory of Alberto Fernández and Cristina Fernández; and on the other hand in Bolivia, the coup d’état against President Evo Morales, who was part of this generation of leaders who had found an answer to the ravages of neoliberalism in Bolivia, how do you analyze these two events? How significant are they in this new Latin America?
President Nicolás Maduro:It is a disputed Latin America throughout the region and country by country. The United States has decided to reactivate the Monroe Doctrine, America for the Americans, that is, America, all of us belonging to them, to their interests, to their business, to their geopolitics and they have done so without any shame, they have declared that the time has come for the Monroe Doctrine, to bring a neocolonial doctrine from the beginning of the 19th century, 200 years later, at the beginning of the 21st century, it is really something anti-historical and has no chance of developing, I think, we believe so and that dispute today moves through country by country; the aggression against Venezuela, the aggression against ALBA, the aggression against Nicaragua, on Cuba, the attempted coup d’etat in Dominica … All the aggression against ALBA is part of that disputed struggle where imperialism intends to impose elites subordinated to their interests to govern and impose their model. That has short legs, it has short legs.
There you see the coup d’etat in Bolivia, they took power, they expelled Evo Morales, they massacred the people in El Alto, in La Paz, in Cochabamba, a terrible massacre, and the coup d’etat continues its march, continues its march, but when you evaluate what the coup makers have done in the government, repositioning the old economic groups again, preparing the delivery of the natural wealth rescued by Evo, imperialism and its companies, deliver the gas, oil, lithium.
Those are wrong policies, privatize, liberalize everything, and how are the people of Bolivia today? Very uneasy, very restive, Bolivia is a time bomb, it is a time bomb and the coup plotters will not be able to stop that force that will restore the process of change that our brother Evo Morales founded, what answers can the right, the golpistas, have? fascism and racism in Bolivia? To the credit of the people of Bolivia, none are exhausted.
Their (the coup’s) only capacity with some success is their conspiracy, is the plot, it is the trap they set on brother Evo Morales. In Argentina I can also tell you Ramonet, we attended the early and premature end of the Macri era, and what did Macri mean? Neoliberalism, privatization, denial of labor rights, social rights and in four years it was dried up. In Argentina there was no social explosion, because there is a powerful social and political movement, because there is Peronism with all its diversity that it knew how to channel with large mass mobilizations and then with a powerful electoral movement, a new alliance headed by Dr. Alberto Fernández and his companion Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who won a great victory and who are taking the first steps to get out of that disastrous era of Macri and neoliberalism.
IR: President, the year 2020 will also be the year of the elections in the United States and we all know that the elections in the United States, whatever the outcome, are important for the whole planet, what opinion do you have on these elections that will be held in November of this year? And how do you see the current political debate in the United States?
President Nicolás Maduro: Well, the picture has barely been defined. The United States Congress in the House of Representatives, decided to initiate the steps for a political trial, an impeachment, against President Donald Trump, sure that throughout this month of January, that confrontation will become more tense and that will define the electoral field
Today, nobody can say what the results will be in the United States elections, no one, if there will be four more years of Trump, or a Democratic candidate, or if a Democratic candidate will come [in first]. In the field of the Democratic Party, nothing is definite, all candidates, pre-candidacies are very evenly matched against Trump, so we can not today, know for certain, with predictive certainty what will happen in elections in the United States.
So what we have to do in our countries is to continue attending to our work, working on our own, fighting for our own. The great liberator José de San Martín said: “Let’s be free, the rest doesn’t matter.” So we say from Venezuela, in the face of what happens in the United States elections, one thing or another, let’s be free, let’s be united, let’s work with perseverance, with a capacity for resistance, with faith in our own, the rest doesn’t matter.
IR: This means, President, that whatever the Democratic or Republican winner, your government is willing to talk with the next US administration regarding the problems that may exist between Washington and Caracas.
President Nicolás Maduro:Always always. We have had during the years 2017, 18, 19, multiple ways of communicating with the United States government, multiple, some known and others not yet known, because I am a man of dialogue, I believe that the affairs of the north, of that super power called the United States, its rulers, its elites, must be treated with diplomacy, with politics, with capital letters, and with capacity for dialogue. I have told the government of Donald Trump and I have done so: whenever, wherever and however, we are ready for dialogue with respect, with dignity, to address bilateral and establish new bases for relations matters for stability of our entire region, from one on one, the children of Bolívar here, one on one, with representatives of the government that exists in the United States.
So our policy will remain unchanged, that policy was founded by our Commander Chavez, unchanging, dignity, respect and dialogue. With anyone who is ruling in the United States, I hope that sooner rather than later – we are always men of faith and optimistic for the future of our countries – I hope that sooner rather than later, awareness opens up in the elites of the United States, that the only positive relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean must be respect, cooperation and ongoing dialogue.
GO: President, to finish I would like to ask you if you could send a message to the youth in this year 2020, a youth that we are seeing protesting throughout the world, a youth that sees with concern its future and that is also waiting on mottos, on directives, on advice that you can give with your great political experience.
President Nicolás Maduro:Well, youth in the world must continue and increase their marches, their struggles, their resistance against the model of exclusion and impoverishing neoliberalism, have to keep fighting for their right to health, education, employment, culture, their right to social happiness. The struggle for social happiness, for social rights, must have in the youth its vanguard, the fundamental engine for the defense of society, especially the society of the future that belongs to that youth, and it must increase the mobilization of world consciousness, against the climatic catastrophe created by neoliberal capitalism, predator. It is capitalism, it is the economic, social, predatory model of neoliberal capitalism that has taken us to the doors of a climatic catastrophe, as denounced by scientists and experts around the world.
So youth is the only one that can save the planet, battle flags, a fighting spirit, creativity, take social networks, all youth to battle because the future belongs to them, the future belongs to us and I have the absolute conviction that a new model, a new world is possible, is brewing and we will see it born from the hands of this youth, I am sure of that.
IR: Thank you very much, Mr. President, and allow me to wish you, your family and your country a happy new year.
Translated by JRE/EF