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Venezuela’s opposition seeks to revise arms contracts with Russia

According to the envoy, Caracas’ debt to Moscow is mostly "the price of weapons"

WASHINGTON, January 30. /TASS/. Venezuela’s opposition, which controls the unicameral parliament, the National Assembly, is planning to revise the price tag of contracts with Russia on weapons supplies as well as relations with Moscow in general, Venezuela’s Special Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) Gustavo Tarre Briceno said at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"We will be very tough in renegotiating how we pay that because they didn't sell us what the contract says. And there will be a discussion about that. We are going to be in front of something, someone not very kind and very difficult in order to make a deal," Briceno, noting that he trusts the Venezuelan ambassador to Moscow. "We have a very, very good job to do."

According to the envoy, Caracas’ debt to Moscow is mostly "the price of weapons." The opposition politician criticized Russia’s weapons, referring to a retired Venezuelan pilot, but did not disclose his name. He noted that the deal on Sukhoi fighter bombers was allegedly not fully transparent and claimed that they are "not the best technology."

In his speech, Briceno also complained about "bad quality" of Russian helicopters, saying that two thirds of them do not fly in Venezuela.

The opposition politician believes that Venezuela would revise the list of its best friends, including Russia and North Korea, and fight for democracy around the world.

Briceno’s speech was interrupted three times by female activists of the US anti-war movement Code Pink. They went to the stage chanting a slogan: "Hands off Venezuela," and one of them called the politician a puppet of US President Donald Trump.

The Organization of American States (OAS) did not recognize as legitimate the new term of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Nineteen member-states of the group backed the decision, six were against and another eight abstained, while a representative of one more country was absent during the vote. Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry described the OAS decision as a dangerous precedent in international relations.

In late April 2017, Venezuela notified the OAS about leaving the organization. Maduro said his country would never return to the group, calling it a tool for legitimizing imperial aspirations against sovereign nations.

Political upheaval rocks Venezuela

Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital of Caracas on January 23. Several countries, including the United States, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel, as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him as president. Maduro, in turn, blasted the move as a coup staged by Washington and said he was severing diplomatic ties with the US.

Meanwhile, Spain, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands said that they would recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president unless Maduro called elections by February 3.

In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey voiced support for Maduro, while China called for resolving all differences peacefully and warned against foreign interference. The United Nations secretary general, in turn, called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.