Venezuela seeks to counter US sanctions

Nicolas Maduro

Nicolas Maduro

CARACAS. – Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday night requested special decree powers to “defend the peace, sovereignty and development” of the South American nation in confrontation with what he called “imperialist aggression” from the United States. At a special session of the National Assembly, Maduro said the “emergency” request was prompted by a “complex international scenario” after Washington said Caracas was a “threat” to its foreign policy and national security.

“No one will believe Venezuela is a threat to the United States because we’re a country of noble people and peaceful vocation,” said the president.

Maduro said this legislation will allow him to “confront the threat and aggression of the biggest military power in the world” and respond in a “timely manner” to any other US political manoeuvre.

“I’ve come to ask for special decree powers to protect our right to live in peace and a democratic country and defend our homeland against the threat Washington imposes on us,” he said.

He added that the US government “has already written up” executive orders to “impose embargo on Venezuela’s economy, finance, commerce and energy.”

Maduro said the United States wants to sanction his country “with a similar embargo on Cuba in the 1960s which includes a naval blockade of our shores.”

The president also called for “national unity” to stop the US threat regardless of political affiliation.

As commander in chief, Maduro also ordered the armed forces to conduct next Saturday a “special military drill” to prepare against “any aggression from the United States”. On Monday, US president Barack Obama issued an executive order to impose additional sanctions on Venezuelan officials over human rights abuses and corruption. – Xinhua.