US and oligarchs to blame for Venezuelan unrest and economic decline: Ken Livinsgtone

US and oligarchs to blame for Venezuelan unrest and economic decline: Ken Livinsgtone

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone has blamed the US for the ongoing unrest and economic decline in Venezuela.

Mr Livingstone suggested the US has a record of "screwing up" Latin American countries with left-wing governments.

He also suggested onlookers should also look to the oligarchs, whose wealth has been redistributed among the population by Mr Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, for the country’s woes.

He claimed the world will not know the truth about what has happened in Venezuela "for decades", suggesting secret US government papers will need to be seen as part of that process.

On talkRADIO, Mr Livingstone went on: "I suspect a lot of them (oligarchs) are using their power and their control over imports and exports, medicines and foods, to make it difficult and to undermine Maduro."

Asked whether the country would not be in crisis if the oligarchs had been executed, Mr Livingstone said: "I didn’t advise them to kill the oligarchs, I advised them to invest in infrastructure.

"I’m not in favour of killing anyone."

US and oligarchs to blame for Venezuelan unrest and economic decline: Ken Livinsgtone

Asked again if Venezuela would be a better place if the oligarchs were killed, Mr Livingstone said: "No I’m not saying that, what I’m pointing out is that until Chavez came to power, about 200 families controlled virtually all the wealth in Venezuela, he didn’t kill them, he introduced a fairer system.

"But they’re still there and still got real power and they will do anything to get rid of Maduro."

Mr Maduro has been accused by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson of behaving like the "dictator of an evil regime" as he cracked down on political opponents after a widely disputed vote to give his government nearly unlimited powers.

The president called the vote for a constitutional assembly to overhaul Venezuela’s political system in May after a month of protests against his government, which has overseen the country’s descent into a devastating crisis during its four years in power.

Plunging oil prices and widespread corruption have left the formerly prosperous nation struggling with widespread shortages of food and medicine.

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