Report interviews Venezuelan ambassador to Azerbaijan Christopher Berroteran
- How do you evaluate the relations between Azerbaijan and Venezuela? What are the main spheres in cooperation between Baku and Caracas?
- Our presidents have already held several meetings. By results of those meetings, the two leaders agreed to develop relations in social, economic, energy and cultural spheres. For this reason, we have opened our diplomatic mission in Baku.
We are primarily aimed at developing economic ties, particularly, increasing trade turnover. As the oil producing countries, we have much in common in terms of developing this sphere. But all the same, we need to base on diversification of these economic ties.
- What can you say about the latest developments in Venezuela? Is Nicolas Maduro planning to take part in the extraordinary presidential elections?
- Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro is elected by people and is the legitimate head of state. The state sovereignty is in people’s hands. The United States wants to establish an illegal regime in Venezuela. US President Donald Trump officially declared the intention to arrange a state coup in Venezuela which failed. This is the disrespect to principles of international law. The Venezuelan Constitution is an example for the world. It clearly prescribes the time and order of presidential elections in Venezuela (Venezuelan president is elected for six years – Ed.). The next elections to be held in the country will be the election of deputies to the National Assembly. Juan Guaido has no power to declare the elections in Venezuela. By misleading people and the international community, he declared that he may hold extraordinary presidential election in 30 days, moreover, the term has already expired. Under our constitution, the National Assembly speaker has no such right. Only people can express such a desire and Venezuela’s sovereignty is in people’s hands.
- What do you think are the main reasons behind the political crisis in Venezuela? What steps does the government plan to take to improve the situation in the country?
- The reasons behind the political crisis in Venezuela are obvious. The main reason is the willingness of external imperialistic forces to take hold of the wealth and power in Venezuela. For this reason, they imposed a number of economic sanctions against Venezuela, blocked supplies of food and medicines to the country. All international companies, who had trade relations with Venezuela, as well as banks cooperating with us, were subjected to sanctions. Moreover, these forces blocked our gold reserves in European banks. This is the crisis they wanted to achieve. But President Maduro, together with the people, prepared the plan ‘Fatherland’ for 2019-2025, which envisages the plan of development for the sake of the country’s growth, welfare and prosperity. The measures stipulated in the plan include fighting the black currency market, supported by imperialistic countries. The United States is not the lord of the world. Venezuela is recognized all over the world and has many fraternal countries, including Russia, Turkey, China, some African states with which we have close economic, social and cultural ties.
The US and EU governments do not express the opinion of their peoples. Who imposed sanctions against the Venezuelan people? Just three or four people, not the populations of those countries. Lots of people in these countries took to streets protesting the imperialistic plans of their governments and interference with Venezuela’s internal affairs. The plans of the United States and EU countries are targeting not Maduro, but the people of Venezuela. They want to enrich through our resources. And Maduro protects the interests of the Venezuelan people. Venezuela is a free and sovereign state, observing international law. We urge not to interfere with the domestic affairs of Venezuela and other countries.
- How does the Venezuelan public treat opposition leader Juan Guaido? Does he have many supporters?
- In Venezuela, there is a definite minority, deceived by Guaido. These are they who support him. Most Venezuelans want peace and support Maduro’s government. Guaido is just a member of the National Assembly, who was elected the assembly speaker only by opposition deputies. Guaido is not a president. In May 2018, the Venezuelan people elected Nicolas Maduro Moros the Constitutional president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela through presidential election, where he garnered more than 6 million votes. That presidential election was held in May 2018, because opposition asked for early elections. And President Nicolas Maduro won as a result.
- May the events in Venezuela affect cooperation with Azerbaijan?
- We hope that these events will not have a negative effect on our relations. Investments in Venezuela are fully secured. Each country is sovereign in its choice. We take this decision and believe that our fraternal countries will take theirs and we will be able to establish strong fraternal relations and strengthen economic ties on the international level.
- As you know, Azerbaijan faced Armenian aggression, which led to occupation of 20% of Azerbaijani territories and turned over a million of people into refugees and displaced persons. What is Azerbaijan’s position on this issue?
- Venezuela respects the sovereignty of every state. We are committed to the policy of non-interference with the domestic affairs of fraternal states. But I would like to repeat that Venezuela is a fraternal state for Azerbaijan.
We always stand for dialogue and peace in resolving the conflict of such fraternal countries as Azerbaijan, in line with the international law and charters of international organizations.