Maduro slams ‘psychological war’ against Venezuela

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (Reuters / Carlos Garcia Rawlins)
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has claimed there is a new international “psychological war campaign” waged against his country by forces in Colombia, the US and Spain.

The new “campaign” against Venezuela includes spreading rumors of security and economic problems – violence and kidnappings, as well as goods shortages, Maduro said in his weekly television program, Xinhua reported Wednesday.

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Maduro put the responsibility for coordinating the program on Venezuelan right-wing political advisor Juan Jose Rendon, saying: “We have to activate once again the red code of Interpol to bring him here to justice. He is a criminal.”

Maduro said that Rendon was organizing the program’s operation in Miami and Bogota, while Felipe Gonzalez, Spain's former Socialist prime minister, coordinates the program from Madrid. Maduro said: “He has actively started to participate in this campaign against Venezuela, supporting a coup in our nation and earning a very high sum of money in euros.”

“They want to promote rumors to make the people forget about the imperial attacks against our homeland and once again deepen the economic war by stimulating hoarding, shortages and smuggling of basic products,” he added.

Maduro explained that the campaign, as he sees it, could make Venezuelans turn a blind eye to recent US sanctions against the country, as well as President Obama's March executive order that declared “a national emergency” over the “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy” posed by Venezuela.

READ MORE: Maduro: US trying to ‘defeat’ Venezuela govt with sanctions, we’ll fight back

A campaign was launched to collect 10 million signatures against that executive order before the beginning of April 9, when the Summit of the Americas will open in Panama, setting the scene for a meeting between Obama and all Latin American leaders.

It is a “sign” that the Venezuelan people wish to live in peace, according to Maduro, who added: “Over 1.5 million signatures have been collected already, and our campaign in the social networks exceeds 3 million messages of support [for] Venezuela.”

The country has high inflation rates and shortages of basic goods, and the US also points out “serious” violation of human rights and policies that “undermine” democracy in the country.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov slammed the US sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials, and also warned against what he called “attempts to organize a state coup.”