Russia has criticized the US government for bullying Venezuela and encouraging its opposition to stage a coup against President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn in for his second term last week.
“Nations should avoid meddling in other nations’ internal affairs,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday. He said that Washington’s encouragement of opposition forces in Venezuela “has made them unwilling to seek reconciliation [with the president], which is regretful.”
Venezuela is currently in a political crisis, with the opposition-controlled National Assembly declaring President Maduro a “usurper” and its speaker, Juan Guaido, an “interim president” of the country. The move came after strong public support from Washington, which has been advocating toppling Maduro for quite some time.
Washington has targeted Maduro’s government with a series of crippling economic and personal sanctions, and reportedly considered a military intervention in the country.
The National Assembly’s mandate to represent Venezuelans remains in question. In 2017, the country reformed its parliament system by introducing a new body called the Constitutional Assembly, which is controlled by pro-government politicians. The opposition and its backers in Washington rejected the reform as a power grab and declared the new legislature illegal.
Explaining Russia’s position on the conflict, Lavrov said US involvement in Venezuela was “very alarming and indicated that the US policy of destabilizing governments it does not like remains a priority.”
Venezuela suffered years of economic and social hardships, which the opposition blames on Maduro’s poor governance. He blames the hardship on sabotage of big business and foreign interests, which want to see his socialist government ousted from power.