Interview. Il manifesto speaks with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Nicolas Maduro: ‘We are swimming against the current’

“We are the people of the difficulties, a peace trenches throughout Latin America,” Nicolas Maduro told il manifesto during my recent visit to Venezuela.

Former militant of the Socialist League, a former bus driver and unionist, Maduro held several positions during Chavez’ terms, such as Minister of Foreign Affairs, deputy minister and then president of the Republic after Chavez’ death, he was elected on April 14, 2013.

Violence, clash of powers, recall referendum, international sanctions. Three years living dangerously.

The economic and political groups that depend on the funding and support of the international right want to impose an outward direction to the country. If they grab power, their supporters would be the de facto governors.

They think the country’s government is a prize, they fight each other to gain international credit.

There are essentially four groups: the old “adeco” [Social Democrat] economic group of the Fourth Republic, the one led by Ramos Allup and “Acción Democrática,” which has spawned the group in Zulia led by Manuel Rosales, whose influence is diminished, however, and he serves as a doormat to the new right.

The third group is that of the “yellow” bourgeoisie, traditionally parasitic. An ambiguous and closed power nucleus that contends the support of the world imperialistic right, which is a favorite. It has been active in all the coup attempts but it has never claimed it so, always presenting a legal façade, stating they favor elections. Now, since they have failed to achieve their goals on the timeline they set for themselves, they are moving towards criminal violence and bachaquerismo, illegal trade of food and staples.

The fourth group is the most violent one, it is tied to the Colombian paramilitary trend of Alvaro Uribe. In 2002 and in 2003, it organized the coup and the military occupation of Altamira square. It has been involved in all violent actions, and no matter so hard it tries to acquire a legal guise, it cannot hide its fascism smell. It is Leopoldo Lopez’ group.

It’s true, I had to face all kinds of attacks in a shorter period of time compared to those Commander Chavez had to face, but he faced bigger dangers and we always come out of it. When he was elected, he had been given only two honeymoon years with his people, however despite the coup and the oil strike, we have recovered the oil price per barrel, we launched social plans, we built the ALBA regional south-south alliance, the Unasur, the CELAC.

After I was elected, even some members of the international left thought that the Bolivarian process would not survive without Chavez.

The right bet I would fall in 2013, in 2014, in 2015 … But we are still here: we are the heirs of Bolivar, who was the man of adversity.

This will be a decisive year, but our people is strengthened in difficulty. No one can bring us back to colonial status.

If the coup had triumphed back in 2002, we would have been forced to start a civil war. The whole region would have been transformed into a war zone, because we have many allies in Latin America and the Caribbean. And even today, the Maduro government — I say this in all humility — is the only one that can ensure stability, peace with social justice.

But the international framework — with the return of the right in Argentina and Brazil, and with the drop in oil prices — is recovering in perhaps the south-south relations. How far are you willing to go to defend this revolution?

Today we face new challenges, different to those that occurred in the last century: the century of Lenin, Mao, Che, Allende and Chavez, who projected powerfully his own project into the 21st century, however, starting a constitutional path towards a peaceful and democratic socialism.

In the 20th century, all socialist and anti-colonial revolutions were armed.

Next year, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik victory that changed the course of humanity. A hard struggle for a new world.

Just a few dates: the 1954 coup in Guatemala, the 1964 coup in Brazil, the second U.S. occupation of the Dominican Republic in ’65 with Operation Power Pack, the invasion of the Bay of Pigs in Cuba, in ’61. And then Allende in Chile in ’73, Argentina … until the coup against Chavez in 2002.

But 100 years, in terms of history, is a short time. The struggle for self-determination of peoples and their emancipation from exploitation is still young, it has suffered setbacks and advances. Today we are faced with another world, with more complex dynamics.

A new multipolar reality that tries to impose a new, devastating, imperial project. Which invades and destroys.

What has come of the so-called fight against terrorism after the attack on the Twin Towers? They have destroyed Afghanistan, which is now an exporter of refugees and terrorism. They destroyed Libya, and look at the results. They would like to do the same with Syria.

They want to undermine the BRICS, which has linked new emerging forces.

NATO threatens Russia irresponsibly, which instead is a peace factor for Europe. They are trying to discredit Putin, who has been able to skillfully steer the phase following the fall of the Soviet Union and carries out the fight against terrorism.

They annoy China. … They want to sow war in this new Latin America that began with Chavez, where profound changes go beyond the geography of the continent: a new era of democratic, popular, peaceful revolutions with a socialist perspective, which have combined all progressive forces on the road to peace, sovereignty: relying on consensus, culture, rights, on the strength of women.

We are a trench of these values. We will not let them reduce to zero, and we do not want to deviate from the path taken. We are in the most difficult moment, but the new Latin America is alive: in the strength of its people, its streets, its love, which is the great cause of humanity, as the poet Che Guevara said.

How far are we willing to push? We will give up our life for this: to build their lives every day.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has recently reported the existence of a new Plan Condor against the 21st century socialism. Do you agree?

The first who spoke about the existence of a new plan Condor was the comrade Cristina Kirchner, at last year’s Summit of the Americas in Panama. Then, Venezuela received the unanimous support of all Latin American countries against the sanctions imposed by the United States. I agreed with her.

Of course, today there are no Pinochets, Videlas or Stroessner, but the oligarchies that supported them persist and feed the right marketing model to the slicked puppets we see active even in Venezuela.

We are facing a new type of economic and media policy hit attacks, which attack us both nationally and internationally. And in Venezuela, they try to prevent us from passing from the defense phase to the recovery phase in the economic and oil war.

The economic hit men organize the internal sabotage, sowing hatred and racism, they believe they can deceive and cheat at will. The media gunmen lead a psychological war to kill hope and stability, especially poisoning the social networks. Those politicians fund and guide destabilizing campaigns from abroad.

Did you see what happened during the Spanish election campaign? The right used the Bolivarian revolution for internal purposes. A true obsession.

If the Spanish judiciary opened an investigation, it would not take much to uncover the billions of illegal financing chains departing from Madrid, directed to the Venezuelan right. They use Spain as a platform to conspire against our government.

We are a peaceful and sovereign country that does not meddle in the internal affairs of other countries. We have our difficulties and we try to overcome them in our own way.

It is our right to build socialism, adopting the model our people have chosen. And we have been very patient to continue on the peaceful and democratic path, while keeping the door open to dialogue, sponsored by Unasur and three former presidents, José Zapatero, Martín Torrijos and Lionel Fernandez, in spite of all attacks.

But the new assassins want to take out the progressive leaders of our America. Look at the parliamentary coup against Dilma in Brazil. A government that in three weeks has seen three ministers resign on corruption charges accuse a woman of the utmost integrity of dishonesty.

They try to activate the so-called Democratic Charter against us, to impose sanctions. We see this attack from afar.

We are the keepers of the great history and the land of libertadores. We are swimming against the current.

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