Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on Apr 30 (Photo/ Reuters)
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on Apr 30 (Photo/ Reuters)

Maduro slams Pompeo's Cuba claims

ANI | Updated: May 01, 2019 16:03 IST

Caracas [Venezuela], May 1 (ANI): Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro dismissed US Secretary of States Michael Pompeo's claim that the embattled President was planning on leaving the South American nation, but was convinced not to do so by Russia.
Speaking to CNN, Pompeo alleged that Maduro's plane was parked on the runway, and he was prepared to depart to Cuba on Tuesday before being talked out of it by unnamed Russian officials.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova had earlier refuted the Secretary of State's claim. "Washington tried its best to demoralize the Venezuelan army and now used fakes as a part of information war," she said.
Maduro branded Pompeo's claims to be "craziness," calling them "lies and manipulation."
"Please, Mr. Pompeo, you’re not being serious," Maduro said, in a televised address where he slammed the latest overthrow attempt.
Venezuela saw one of its bloodiest days in recent times on Tuesday, after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared he was "beginning the final phase of Operation Freedom," in an apparent bid to oust Maduro.
His call led to protesters collecting at the La Carlota military airbase, where a confrontation between the opposition leader's supporters and Maduro's supporters took place, according to CNN. In an apparent show of solidarity with the opposition, a few members of the military, national guard, and armed forces wore blue armbands during the clashes.
At least 71 people have been injured due to the clashes, out of which 42 were wounded with rubber bullets while two were treated for gunshot wounds at the Salud Chacao Medical Center in Caracas, as per the hospital's president. The country's Minister of Defence, Vladimir Padrino, said that a military colonel was also shot during the showdown.
While Guaido has highlighted that Maduro has no military support, the embattled President continues to hold on to his post while reinforcing that the country's defence forces support him.
Meanwhile, prominent opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was freed from house arrest by forces siding with Guaido on Tuesday. Lopez, along with his family, took refuge at the Chilean Foreign Affairs Ministry as "guests," only to be shifted later to the Spanish embassy in Caracas.
The United States is keeping a close watch on the developments in Venezuela as Guaido made his most bold attempt yet at ousting Maduro. Washington had immediately extended its support to Guaido, recognising him as the official interim president of the nation.
Other countries like France, Japan, UK sided with the United States in recognising Guaido, while countries like China, Russia, and Turkey slammed external interference in Venezuela's internal affairs.
Venezuela is also facing an acute economic and humanitarian crisis at the moment, which is worsened by repeated sanctions from the United States. Maduro's government has continued to deny the existence of a humanitarian crisis in the Latin American nation, blocking off his country from receiving any aid sent by the US. He has also blamed the United States for the blackouts which brought the nation to a standstill recently. (ANI)