The Venezuelan ruler said that the governor of Táchira state should be investigated for alleged high treason
A ceremony to swear in 12,000 members of the election patrols of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) served as a backdrop for Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to announce the suspension of his trip to Cuba, where he was scheduled to participate in the events to commemorate the attack on the Moncada barracks. He attributed his decision to a likely armed attack against Venezuela.
In a brief speech, Chávez once again threatened to suspend oil shipments to the United States; he lambasted PSUV members who have criticized the work of his revolutionary government, and even described them as selfish.
The Venezuelan ruler said that the governor of the state of Táchira, on the border with Colombia, could be investigated for high treason. Chávez also reminded the opposition that they will suffer the consequences of an eventual foreign military intervention and warned the Venezuelan people that popular sovereignty will be defended even if it involves "eating stones."
Chávez, who on Saturday cited a letter from "a friend in the United States" who warned him against an assassination attempt; stressed that, based on "intelligence reports," he could assert that "the possibility of an armed aggression against Venezuelan territory from Colombia was bigger than never before in all these years."
"If there is any armed aggression against Venezuela from Colombian territory or anywhere else supported by the Yankee empire -Chávez said- we would stop oil shipments to the United States, even if we had to eat stones. We would not send a drop of oil to the United States," he said.
Chávez even compared his situation with that of Manuel Noriega, the former President of Panama.
"The Yankees can do anything. The US invaded Panama with the excuse that Noriega supported drug trafficking and they have been unable to prove that allegation (...) They have just sent a fleet to Costa Rica. The mission of the fleet would be to contain the possible reaction of Cuba and Nicaragua in case of an attack against Venezuela."
Meanwhile, Rafael Ramírez, the Minister of Energy and Petroleum and president of state-run oil company (Pdvsa), referred to the presidential warning and reported from Cuba that he has already instructed Pdvsa officials to declare a "yellow alert," in the oil industry. This is the previous step to a contingency situation.
Translated by Gerardo Cárdenas
President Nicolás Maduro is not only the heir to the throne, but also to an economic crisis which demanded urgent measures to rectify the course. The crisis showed up in two aspects: a 50% inflation estimate, and shortage of staples ranging between 70% and 98%. These issues might hit the President's poor popularity; considering his feeble electoral victory of 1% over his challenger.