CARACAS – Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said on Friday that the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) entirely rejects the deplorable remarks that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made on Thursday in demanding open, democratic elections in the Caribbean nation.
“The FANB entirely rejects such deplorable remarks, which also amount to an odious act of interference,” Padrino said in reading a Defense Ministry statement against what Tillerson said this Thursday at the University of Texas at Austin, before leaving on a tour of Latin America.
The minister said the armed forces “ratify their absolute adherence to the Constitution and to the laws of the country, as well as its loyalty to citizen Nicolas Maduro Moros, our constitutional president.
Moving on from the statement, Padrino said that Tillerson is “a gentleman who has his days numbered” as he travels around Latin America on “a tour that looks like a mediocre bullfighter on an unlucky afternoon trying to convince Latin American governments to intervene in Venezuela.”
He also criticized the US official for “inviting the armed forces to bring down a government” and said that with this supposed invitation, Tillerson “shows his lack of respect for an institution that stands by its principles, its republican morals and its historic traditions.”
“You have no idea, Mr. Tillerson, what you are doing, and I invited you to get things straight,” he said.
“The United States is up to evident interference and financial persecution, precisely to create chaos, anarchy and destabilization in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”
He also said that Tillerson shows “an absolute ignorance of the truth” about Venezuela when he tells the oil-producing nation to get back on the road of the Constitution “with free elections.”
Such remarks, he said, are “absurd” – elections were held last year to choose the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), state and municipal officials, while this year the presidential election is being held.
“How can you talk about a dictatorship, Mr. Tillerson, precisely when we are in the midst of popular elections?” Padrino said, and went on to describe Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) as a “progressive institution” from a technological and “auditable” point of view.