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Venezuela ‘will beat US at own game’

VENEZUELAN diplomat Marcos Garcia told a Merthyr Rising meeting today that Washington was working openly “to destroy our economy at many levels, but we know that we shall defeat its best efforts.”

Mr Garcia said that deliveries of food and medicine were under attack, as is Venezuela’s currency and oil exports, especially to Caribbean partners under US pressure.

He explained that President Nicolas Maduro won re-election last weekend because of commitment to principles, while the opposition repeated its briefly victorious 2015 policy of attacking the economy and government social programmes.

“We are still investing 72 per cent of government spending in social programmes and have built 2.6 million homes, totally subsidised, for poor people.”

The political counsellor added that workers’ salaries continue to be upgraded quarterly for inflation, while ration cards applicable to different sectors — pregnant women, workers, pensioners — safeguard living standards.

He ridiculed criticism of Venezuela’s electoral system by the Lima Group of pro-US regional countries, noting that it is fully automated and requires both a polling card and a fingerprint before a ballot paper is issued.

In contrast, Honduras held a mysterious three-hour gap in counting, before which the opposition was leading and after which the government triumphed, while Colombia allowed ballot papers to be photocopied because of shortages.

“We know we have a responsibility to the region and that we are a reference point for Latin America’s progressive movement,” Mr Garcia declared.

“We have to be skilful and patient in relations with the US to deny them a pretext to attack us, so international solidarity remains very important for us.”

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