CARACAS – The government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday the beginning of a far-reaching review of its relations with the United States, after the White House threatened his country with strong, swift economic sanctions if it goes ahead with its Constituent Assembly.
“Warning, from this moment, on orders from the president of the republic, we are making a exhaustive review of relations with the US, because we do not accept humiliation from anyone,” Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada said in a televised statement.
Moncada called on Venezuelans and their international allies to stand up to Washington’s threat, made public Monday after results were in showing that 7.5 million Venezuelans, according to opposition figures, rejected, in a referendum without government authorization, the Constituent Assembly being promoted by Maduro.
On the same day, the ruling party coordinated a rehearsal with the National Electoral Council (CNE) to practice the election of Constituent members, who will be charged with rewriting the constitution.
“To our people, to our military commander, nationalists, revolutionaries and patriots, to our ambassadors around the world, to all the media, to our friends worldwide, this is the defining moment,” Moncada said.
Maduro said days before the Trump government made its intention known, that Venezuela “is a free and sovereign country that will not be threatened or intimidated by any imperial power in the world.”
Diplomatic relations between Venezuela and the United States have been largely on hold since late 2008, when then-President Hugo Chavez expelled US Ambassador Patrick Duddy for presumed involvement in a plot to assassinate Chavez.
Since then, despite attempts by both governments to restore normal relations, the two countries have basically remained at odds.
“Unfortunately, it is now up to us to respond to this attitude, but it is also up to us to respond proudly and honorably in defense of our country,” Moncada said to conclude his statement from the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry.