For the Saker Blog – a translation collaboration between Deena Stryker and our own amarynth with Deena doing the first rough translation and amarynth doing the subsequent heavy lifting. While this is a quick translation in the interests of time, and not word for word, it represents fairly the content and the context of the Defense Minister’s rejection. This was an excellent speech and we did not do it full justice in translation, as it was felt that after Mr Trump’s speech, to get this out fairly accurately and quickly was more important than fine adjustments. To illustrate the flow, I have added headers to the different sections. These bolded headers are mine (amarynth), and not those of the Venezuelan Defense Minister.

Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez rejected President Donald Trump’s call to revolt against his president, Nicolás Maduro, the commander-in-chief of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB). He stressed that this institution always acts in accordance with the law and with respect to Human Rights. He recalled that the US president intends and seeks to impose “their will in the world through force and domination”.

Comments on Trump’s Florida Venezuela Speech

We’ve been aware of all the threats against us, and have presented our military plans, within the limits of the law, always respecting the Venezuelan people, taking into account our constitution. Yesterday we observed and heard a speech by Trump in Florida. We are astonished by the arrogant, bullying tone of this speech, against our laws and institutions. which approved of terrorists in our country, specifically a personality who engaged in acts of visible terrorism, who commandeered a helicopter from the body of State Security and opened fire on kindergardens, (infantile installations) and robbed arms.

They (the US) see socialism as their main enemy and believe that the whole world thinks the same way, pretending that the world thinks in this unique way. There is no debate of ideas, there is no discussion, there is no dialectic, only their own single belief which they want to impose on the world through force, domination and coercion – on the world and the planet.

Here in Venezuela, we have a constitution (which you ignore), which states political pluralism, not elitism. It is the theory of participation of the diverse and various forces that make up political power and the constitution states the mechanisms to be used.

Furthermore Trump talks about supposed humanitarian assistance, but puts that aside to create a public opinion internationally against the people of Venezuela as well as that our armed forces will confront the people of Venezuela. This is a string of lies and manipulations which are a psychological propaganda campaign against Venezuela to gain political power. The most serious issue that we have seen is that Trump gives himself the possibility of commanding the Venezuelan armed forces and institutions, giving them orders. This is insolent. His advisors need to educate him or give him a roadmap. One has to be of Venezuelan birth before you can give orders to Venezuelan military forces. You have to born on this land. You have to be of our blood and born a national and then make your career in politics in Venezuela. You of course have to be elected and get a majority of votes. After you gain the majority of votes, the people will have freely expressed their voluntary willingness. Indirect elections occur in the United States. In Venezuela, we have direct elections according to the procedures of National Electoral Council.

Mr Trump, to boast of giving orders to the National Bolivarian armed force, you have to follow this roadmap and it is preferable to tell the world that the campaign against Venezuela is not the string of manipulations and psychological campaign that you undertook but all the effort is to obtain the political power in Venezuela. That is the reality.

About Venezuela

We had elections. We elected President Maduro. After making him president with the strength of the popular vote, the military of Venezuela recognises President Maduro as the Commander in Chief.

This recognition is derived from the people and is the will of the Venezuelan people. We have a President and Commander in Chief, in the person of Nicholás Maduro. By the same token we say to those who claim to be Presidents here in Venezuela, that this is how you do it and any other way will not be able to penetrate the patriotic spirit of the men and women of the armed forces.

The country is calm, the government is working, civil, civilian, and Bolivariano. The people are working, forging their own happiness. There is a government that is fulfilling its constitutional functions, there is national armed forces today more than ever conscious of their military duties to the citizens. There is a civil consciousness in the armed forces, profoundly democratic and deeply Bolivarian. It is important to let our country know that the world knows what the role of our armed forces is. The armed forces are in the center of the debate and in the center of the seriousness. Trump’s intention is to break this unity of the armed forces and to offend the armed forces because when a president of another country comes to pretend to give orders to the armed forces, they are underestimating and disrespecting the consequences. It is extreme disrespect to ask our armed forces to put themselves outside of the law of our constitution and institutions. This would be totally aberrant behavior.

About Colombia – a subtle reminder that there is a joint responsibility for peace in the region

For example, for the Colombian president to call on our armed forces, shows his ignorance of our history. To call on the Colombian army would be a lack of respect toward them, they have to do their job of preserving peace in Columbia. Listen to the President of Colombia. He makes a call to our armed forces as a Minster of popular power for the defense of the people, and gives order to the Colombian armed forces, who do not know who their commander in chief is and who obey the paramilitary groups of Álvaro Uribe or align themselves with guerrilla groups of an organization with a different political policy.

We will not get involved in this. We are respectful of the internal issues of states. Each state has their government and corresponding legal mechanisms with the responsibility to carry out the corresponding processes as defined by the legal mechanisms in their mandate. For example if I had to call on our brothers in the Colombian armed forces, it would be a lack of respect for the military forces of the Republic of Colombia. It would be an underestimation of our compañeros in the Colombian military who are called to play the role of preserving peace in the region, a responsibility which we both have, towards the Latin Americans and the Caribeños.

Maintaining peace is our responsibility. But if we have to, we can reverse that against any nation or government that in this moment seeks to attack us with their false diplomacy and their actions outside international law against our people and our homeland. We in the armed forces have a resilient character, a strong patriotism, we are Bolivarian and have always been anti-imperialist, since we were born. This is not momentary, it is historical. It is inherent since the creation of the armed forces as a liberating army in our country.

Back to the issue and the role of the Venezuelan Defense Forces

They will not be able to use their pretenses, with their methods of coercion, blackmail, manipulation of sanctions and offers of amnesty to our leaders. If there is one thing that characterizes us, and this is known by the world, it is dignity. We fly the flag with national dignity. They will not be able to win with tricks on our dignity. They can sanction us but will not succeed. We will hear them, but we remain with our country. This is a political, even personal attack on Venezuela. If there is no respect for the nation, its laws and authorities, it is a jungle.

The attempt of coup is increasing and has placed the armed forces in the center of the debate. We observe in yesterday’s speech an act of extreme arrogance and terrible folly on the part of the President of the United States. Donald Trump referred to our country in a tone and in the content of his declarations we see a very dangerous attitude of one who wants to direct the actions of a military power that with their limitless imperial desire is orchestrating an interventionist plan against our nation. It is imperative to reiterate to the world that we are in the presence of an escalation of a hybrid war to suffocate our economy with economic and financial sanctions to generate chaos and anarchy. Know well that their true purpose is none other than to appropriate the wealth of the nation. It is unusual to flagrantly violate the norms of international law by imparting orders to the Venezuelan military, promoting and encouraging confrontation with our compañeros and co-nationales under the pretext of humanitarian help. Any attempt to change government must follow our rules and must happen according to our roadmap. We will defend our nation, and I am certain will win. 

Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez

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