The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, said that his country intends to be part of BRICS – an international organization originally formed by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and which has just gained five new members: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates United States, Ethiopia and Iran.
In a long interview given on the first day of the year to Spanish sociologist and journalist Ignacio Ramonet, published by the Mexican newspaper The Conference, Maduro said that Brics represents “the future of humanity”, and that it already has “definitive economic power”. In 2023, Venezuelans had already formalized their request to participate in the group.
“We believe in Brics as part of a new world, a new balance, as part of the Bolivarian geopolitical concept of a world of balance, a world of equals. And also as part of the future of humanity for the development of Brics investments in Venezuela , for the development of large markets for Venezuelan products, for the development of multidiversified relationships culturally, politically, institutionally, socially”, said the president.
In September 2023, Maduro visited China and made a point of meeting the president of the New Development Bank (NDB), the “BRICS bank”, Dilma Rousseff. In the interview with Ramonet, he said that relations with the bank are “good” and are “advancing”, without detailing which investments could be made in his country.
Criticism of Milei
The Brics could have welcomed a new South American country this New Year’s Eve, Argentina, but the country’s government, now headed by Javier Milei, declined the invitation. For Maduro, the decision of his colleague from Casa Rosada is a mistake, and was the target of strong criticism.
“The step he took to remove Argentina from this enormity that is the Brics is one of the most stupid and imbecile things that Milei did against Argentina. By removing Argentina from the Brics he is acting against the Argentines, against the Argentine worker, against the businessman Argentine”, he pointed out, reinforcing that he will work for Venezuela to occupy the “vacancy” left by Argentina.
Maduro also did not spare criticism of the government of Guyana and the United Kingdom amid negotiations over the territory of Essequibo. For the Venezuelan leader, the neighboring country is acting as “British Guiana”, in reference to the territory’s name in the colonial period, which ended in 1966.
On Christmas Eve, the British government announced it was sending a warship to take part in joint military exercises near the disputed area. The measure was understood by the Venezuelan government as a provocation and threat, and the country announced that it would also carry out exercises in the region.
Commenting on the case, Maduro said that the president of Guyana, Mohamed Irfaan Ali, with the support of the British government, is “mocking” the Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), who offered to mediate the conflict with international organizations.
“What are London and the president of Guyana doing? Mocking President Lula; mocking the president of Celac [Comunidade de Estados Latino-Americanos e Caribenhos], Ralph Gonsalvez; mocking all Caribbean Community countries. They are mocking Venezuela by threatening a military ship. They are breaking the Argyle agreement”, he pointed out, referring to the understandings between the countries regarding the dispute.
‘Genocide’ against Palestinians
Maduro was also asked about the Israeli massacre that has left tens of thousands of Palestinians dead. The Venezuelan leader was adamant in calling the case “genocide”, stating that the current scenario is a consequence of something that has existed since the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.
“It is a genocide against a people. A genocide over seventy-five years old is now open, brutal. And there is practically nothing and no one to raise their voice. The worst thing about the genocide is the silence of complicity. of the European elites, of the American elites who manufacture weapons to bomb and kill innocent Palestinians. More than twenty-one thousand Palestinians murdered. Eleven thousand of them children. It seems that they went after the children, to exterminate them. More than six thousand women”, he stated.
“In fact, what is being committed in Palestine has no name, it is only comparable to the Jewish Holocaust that the Jewish people experienced during Hitler’s time, in the Nazi era. International justice should work. But we simply do not see the face of international justice . A genocide in broad daylight broadcast live and directly on social media and nothing happens”, he added.
The Venezuelan president was interviewed by Spaniard Ignacio Ramonet, one of the most recognized journalists and communication theorists today, with critical theoretical production in relation to the media. Between 1990 and 2008, Ramonet directed the French edition of Le Monde Diplomatique and founded Media Watch Global (International Observatory of Media) and the organization ATTAC, driving force behind the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, of which he is still a member of the International Council . He is also the author of biographies of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez.
Editing: Thalita Pires