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Dirty Tricks Again? Venezuela Accuses U.S. of Coup Plot After Deadly Post-Election Protests

Venezuelan President-elect Nicolás Maduro has accused the United States and the opposition of planning a coup against him.
 
 
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Venezuelan President-elect Nicolás Maduro has accused the United States and opposition of planning a coup against him after seven government supporters were killed and 60 people were injured in clashes after the election.  Venezuela’s National Electoral Council has certified Maduro’s victory, but opposition candidate Henrique Capriles is refusing to accept the results. The Venezuelan opposition says it has collected more than 3,200 reports of problems and campaign violations that could have swayed the vote, but the Union of South American Nations said Sunday’s election was free and fair. Several Latin American nations have already congratulated Maduro on his victory, including  ArgentinaBolivia, Brazil,  Cuba and Nicaragua. We go to Caracas to speak to  Alex Main of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He served as an election monitor in Venezuela.

 

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Tensions are rising in  Venezuela three days after voters elected Nicolás Maduro, the chosen successor of late President Hugo Chávez, to serve out the remainder of Chávez’s term. Venezuela’s National Electoral Council has certified Maduro’s victory after he won by about 275,000 votes. Maduro received 51 percent of the vote, while opposition leader Henrique Capriles got 49 percent. On Tuesday, President-elect Maduro accused the opposition of planning a coup against him after seven government supporters were killed and 60 people were injured in clashes after the election.

PRESIDENT-ELECT NICOLÁS MADURO:[translated] It’s an orchestrated plan that we have denounced. This is the chronology of an announced coup. I can announce here: We have defeated a coup. But they are going to continue to destabilize. Today I declare the coup defeated.

AMY GOODMAN: Venezuela’s President-elect Maduro also accused the United States of backing efforts by the opposition to destabilize Venezuela. On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department said it will not recognize the new government unless a full vote-by-vote recount is held as demanded by Capriles. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell responded to questions from the Associated Press’s Matthew Lee.

MATTHEW LEE: So you still think that they should recount the votes.

PATRICK VENTRELL: I mean, that’s been our position.

MATTHEW LEE: No, no.

PATRICK VENTRELL: That hasn’t happened.

MATTHEW LEE: Even though after—after—after the vote has been certified—after the election has been certified, you still think that there should be a recount?

PATRICK VENTRELL: Well, under the Venezuelan constitution, it’s ultimately up to theCNE to certify—

MATTHEW LEE: Well, I understand that—

PATRICK VENTRELL: —the election results, which they’ve done.

MATTHEW LEE: —but what’s the U.S. position? Is the U.S. position that there still should be a recount?

PATRICK VENTRELL: Well, our position is that—

MATTHEW LEE: —or the Venezuelan people to have confidence?

PATRICK VENTRELL: Our position is that—let me finish, Matt. Our position is that resolving these irregularities would have engendered more confidence in the Venezuelan people in the quality of this vote. And so, that is the concern we’ve expressed. But in terms of where we go forward, I just don’t have anything more for you today.

MATTHEW LEE: Well, OK. So are you prepared to congratulate Mr. Maduro on his victory?

PATRICK VENTRELL: We’re not there.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: The Venezuelan opposition says it has collected more than 3,200 reports of problems and campaign violations that could have swayed the vote, but the Union of South American Nations said Sunday’s election was free and fair. Several Latin American nations have already congratulated Maduro on his victory, including  ArgentinaBolivia, Brazil,  Cuba and Nicaragua.  Russia and China have also congratulated him.

Supporters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles had planned to hold large  protests today, but Capriles called them off, claiming the government wants violence on the streets.

 
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