CARACAS (AFP) – Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, whose 2018 re-election was rejected by a vast swathe of the international community as fraudulent, said on Saturday that he does not care about the global response to a vote scheduled for next year.
Maduro intends to seek a third six-year term in the 2024 election.
“We don’t care what imperialism thinks, or what the oligarchies think, about the political, social, institutional, cultural and economic life of Venezuela,” he said in an interview broadcast on state television.
“We don’t care whether they say something or not, whether they recognise it or not,” he added.
After the 2018 election was boycotted by the opposition, its leader Juan Guaido was recognised by more than 50 countries as Venezuela’s de facto leader.
Guaido led a symbolic “interim government” from 2019 until January this year, with support from the United States and recognition from dozens of other countries but no real power.
The opposition voted to disband the interim government in January and replaced Guaido as the head of a parallel congress made up of opposition lawmakers. “We never cared that they said: ‘No, the president of Venezuela is Guaido’. He was not president,” said Maduro.
The head of the government’s delegation at talks with the opposition in Mexico, parliamentary president Jorge Rodriguez, insisted on Thursday that any agreement on free elections in 2024 will depended on the lifting of all international sanctions against Venezuela.
The opposition is seeking certain assurances, including opposition leaders barred from holding public office will be allowed to run.