CARACAS: Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro said on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) that Washington was making a “grave mistake” in not acknowledging his victory in the controversial April 14 presidential election.
Maduro, 50, heir to the late leftist president Hugo Chavez, defeated opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, 40, by a razor-thin margin in the snap election to complete Chavez’s six-year term in office.
Capriles, however, has refused to concede defeat, claiming that the vote was riddled with irregularities.
On May 3 interview with US Spanish-language network Univision, President Barack Obama refused to say whether Washington recognized Maduro as the winner of the April vote.
“I believe [the United States]is committing a grave mistake, one more in its policy towards Latin America,” Maduro said in an interview with the Caracas-based Telesur network.
“It is making a tremendous mistake because Venezuela plays a leadership role in Latin America and the world,” he said, highlighting the visit to Caracas on Sunday of Chinese vice president Li Yuanchao, and his own upcoming visit to Russia.
Maduro believes that Obama was “convinced” by his advisors to refuse to recognize the election results. “They promised him that I would be ousted in 24 or 48 hours, or that there would be a violent crisis in the country,” he claimed.
When asked about Venezuela, Obama told Univision that the entire region “has been watching the violence, the protests, the crackdowns on the opposition” following the controversial election.