Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro has vowed to defeat a “crazed minority” that wants to remove him from power. In a challenge to opposition leader Juan Guaido, he called for “anti-imperialist marches” on Saturday to coincide with anti-government protests, BBC writes.
Maduro’s comments were the first since the opposition leader defied him and returned to the country on Monday.
Separately, Washington said it was considering imposing new sanctions to pressure Maduro to give up power. The U.S. envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, said it was hard to see a role for Mr Maduro in future democratic elections.
“If he wanted to build a democratic Venezuela, he had the opportunity to do so, but he did not,” Abrams said. As head of the opposition-led National Assembly, Guaido proclaimed himself Venezuela’s interim president in January after the legislature declared Maduro’s re-election last year illegitimate.
Meanwhile, Maduro accused the opposition of trying to organize a coup with American help.
Speaking at an event marking the sixth anniversary of the death of his predecessor and political mentor, Hugo Chávez, Maduro said: “While a crazed minority continues with their hatred, with their bitterness, it’s their problem. We won’t pay attention to them, compatriots.”
In front of gathered military personnel, he added: “We’re going to stop them in their tracks, their work, the national union. Let the crazy minority continue with their bitterness, we’ll defeat them. For Chávez we’ll do it, for the great history of the country we’ll do it.”