Paris – Venezuela’s newly elected President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday warned Europe of the risks of “political explosions”, as a result of growing economic tensions.
In an interview with France’s Le Monde, described by the newspaper as his first with Western media since last month’s election, Maduro said he saw echoes of 1990s Latin America in Europe’s ongoing economic crisis.
“What is happening in Europe at the moment reminds me of what our region went through in the 1990s, all the social indicators were in decline and this led to political explosions, revolutions,” he said.
“Europe should be careful,” he added.
Maduro, the hand-picked successor to the late firebrand leftist Hugo Chavez, also blamed what he a called “an extreme-right group” for the tensions that have soared in Venezuela since the 14 April vote, which official results gave to Maduro by a 1.5% margin.
Contesting the results
Venezuela opposition leader Henrique Capriles announced on Wednesday that he would formally contest the result.
Referring to the 1973 coup that brought Augusto Pinochet to power in Chile, Maduro said: “We will prevent a new Pinochet from rising in Venezuela. We will do this by democratic means.”
He said he wanted to “move toward a relationship that can be positive” with the US, but also hit out at President Barack Obama.
“Obama smiles, but he bombs all the same,” Maduro said.
“He just puts forward a different image from [ex-president George W Bush]. In this sense he better serves the United States’ interests in global domination.”