Yván Gil, Vice-Minister for Europe: “Venezuela is used a smokescreen with which to cover up internal problems in Spain” PDF Imprimir E-mail
Escrito por MPPRE   
Viernes, 11 de Agosto de 2017 00:00

An interview with Yvan Gil, Venezuela’s Vice-Minister for Europe


Yvan Gil


Yván Gil is a 44 year-old engineer, and one of the main leaders of Venezuelan diplomacy. As Vice-Minister for Europe, he is tasked with dealing with a continent intent on following the path set by Washington, including those countries, such as Spain, which use Venezuela as a caricature with which to talk about domestic politics. He assures us that Caracas has made great efforts towards negotiating, but has been met by a blank refusal. And he regrets that the European Union has not chosen a more “neutral” path in the face of Donald Trump’s international policy.

By Alberto Pradilla.


These last few days the threats of sanctions against Venezuela have been intensified. How does the Government manage these?

Venezuela is a victim of a plan that has only one leader - the obstinate right wing. We must mention US officials with links to the right and with shady interests, such as Senator Marco Rubio, or Donald Trump’s team, who have formulated a series of attacks with no other goal but to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution.

There are a series of participants that have been involved in that plan, such as the governments of certain countries in Latin America, like Colombia or Mexico. From within the Organisation of American States (OAS) they have promoted a series of actions that ultimately failed. There is a plan orchestrated by Washington. That has been made clear by the words of Trump.

When one hears the statements of the president of the foremost power, with the most powerful army, with a history of numerous military interventions in Latin America, one is able to see the presence of a clear strategy. The CIA has no worth in terms of human development or any other; nobody should think that it has a goal of bringing peace, rather to overthrow governments, only to finally admit to its crimes years down the line. At this point, however, it is openly confessing to these actions against a free and sovereign state.


Have external pressures been increasing in recent years?

Venezuela has been under attack for 18 years. After the death of [Hugo] Chavez these attacks were intensified with the application of an economic blockade. Venezuela has paid more than US$ 60 billion over the last three years and we don’t have access to financial systems.

The opposition is employed by Washington; its struggle is not for a sense of the nation, but in favour of Washington’s interests and they have gone around the world penning letters asking the interventionists not to lend money to Venezuela and to strangle the country economically. They have had some success. The reduction in the availability of certain foodstuffs or medicines is the consequence of this orchestrated plan, and now we are seeing a higher phase of this plan.


Are you referring to sanctions against Nicolas Maduro?

The sanctions against President Maduro are not just personal sanctions, they are sanctions against the people. He hasn’t been sanctioned because of an individual action, but due to something he did as part of the constitution in his role as Head of State. The state is being sanctioned – the leadership of the State.

Trump said so before the vote: “if they carry on with the Constituent, I will sanction them”. He is not sanctioning Maduro as a citizen, but rather the elected president, who, as part of his role, decided that to call the people to a consultation, something which the US considers to be a violation of democracy. It’s the biggest paradox: sanctioning a head of State for calling a popular consultation. Alongside President Madruo, the 8 million citizens who voted on the 30th of July are being sanctioned.


Now it seems other types of sanctions are not being ruled out, and even PDVSA has been singled out, the state oil company on which Venezuela’s economy relies on to a large degree. How would this affect the population?

Imperialism will carry on punishing. In 2002, this was done in another way; they didn’t need to impose sanctions because the Venezuelan bourgeoisie controlled PDVSA and they imposed a ‘self-boycott’ [lock out]. PDVSA closed off exports and its operations, but we took it on and we succeeded.

Economists should create models based on the consequences of such a mad action [as imposing sanctions], especially since it would affect all citizens from all backgrounds, including the opposition. We have more than 1.5 million European citizens living here, and Europe’s position of attaching itself to Washington surprises us, when those 1.5 million Europeans would be affected. The population can be sure that, faced with any sanction, we will be able to respond to it, although we won’t be able to completely hide the negative effects.


There are countries that refuse to recognise the National Constituent Assembly that was elected last week.

They are in a minority. There are 200 countries in the world, and we have good relations with the majority of them; we have received messages of congratulation and solidarity from Russia, for example, from Middle Eastern countries, Asia and Africa. There is a whole world that isn’t the empire. We hold the rotary presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which is the most numerous organisation within the United Nations. We have very deep relations with the majority of the countries in the world. We are the targets of an attack from a minority which holds a lot of power, controlling finance and the media in the West.

Venezuela is a reference point for creating a new model on how to lead a society, managing natural resources and redistributing the wealth produced in a free and sovereign nation. That’s what the western world fears. We will come out victorious in this battle and we will carry on being a model. Over the last three years we have faced a brutal campaign, especially after Obama approved an order declaring Venezuela to be a threat, with the precise intention of destroying the Venezuelan model. The bad news for the empire is that we can count not only on the support of friendly countries and governments, but also the support of the social majorities, and the support movements in Europe, Latin America, Asia, etc.


You are in charge of relations with Europe. It is from here that some of the most belligerent positions against Venezuela are taken. Is there a possibility of dialogue?

We have made all the diplomatic and political efforts in order to reach out. We have asked them to take a neutral stance. If they choose not to support the dialogue, because they believe that through dialogue, the class they champion and protect class in Venezuela might find itself at a disadvantage, then we ask for neutrality. Unfortunately we have not achieved this. Nevertheless we don’t believe it’s the whole of Europe. There are four or five countries which head these efforts, where the seats of power are held, the engine which moves the rest of the continent.

We have seen some gross positions about the workings of our Constitution. Let’s not forget that all these countries rejected the Constitution we voted for 1999. It was the same situation. They refused to recognise the government, recognising instead the coup d’état carried out by [Pedro] Carmona… it’s a historic fight.

We regret that in the face of Trump’s actions, Europe chooses to align itself with someone who advocates the destruction of the European ideals, such as the multilateral model. It’s sad how economic interests for the natural resources in Venezuela manage to divert the European Union from one of its core principles. We shouldn’t expect anything else: its fate was predicted by Lenin when he talked about a United States of Europe and what would come of it. In the case of Venezuela, the prophecy has been fulfilled.


How do you assess the position taken by Spain? Venezuela is a recurring theme when talking about domestic issues.

It is ridiculous. Spanish society is subjected to the forces of the means of communication. In Spain the media holds the power and manipulates public opinion and the political parties. They have turned the issue of Venezuela into a trump card.

Without wishing to involve myself in internal issues, if any civil servant or politician is questioned about any misconduct, such as corruption, the immediate response is to use Venezuela. We haven’t seen a similar situation in any other country. It really is an abnormal issue, which isn’t healthy even for Spain itself. We call on the issue of Venezuela to be treated in a normal fashion; we don’t ask that they support us or back us, we understand that this a class war and that they are part of a class. But as part of the international law and the self-determination of the peoples, we should be held in respect.

It shouldn’t be possible for all Spanish politicians to use Venezuela as a trump card in every single issue. Spain has enough problems of its own, as do all countries. I’m not anyone to talk about Spain, but since every country has internal problems; in the management of its government, in its economy, it has enough issues to stick to. The issue of Venezuela has been used a smokescreen to cover up internal problems.


The ex-president of Spain, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, was also in Venezuela, looking to set up a dialogue. What role did the ex-leader have?

It’s not my place to assess, because they have been conversations taking place at a very high level, but ex-president Zapatero has fulfilled an important role. More than anyone, he knows the efforts made by the Venezuelan Government. And we are sure that he has informed the Spanish Government about this, even though the position of the Spanish government is completely incomprehensible.


The opposition has attempted a strategy of “double legitimacy”, looking to create a parallel government. Do you fear that in future these attempts will be eventually recognised by other states?

That would be a step too far. Unfortunately there are certain examples in the world, such as in Libya or Syria, where parallel structures were recognised. I don’t think this will happen. There is still some sense left in the world to not recognise a legitimate government. The message of the Constituent Assembly was clear: here are a people who back the government, 41% of the people came out, and this should be heard by politicians around the world.


In recent times it was said that the Chavismo movement was in crisis, but we now get the impression that it is the opposition that is in crisis. In what position are both blocs at present?

The opposition is going through its worst moment in its history, one of the darkest moments. They resorted to fascism, to terrorist practices… What we saw in recent months surpassed all limits. Burning people alive on the streets, killing their own supporters… It reached a high level of political depravity, of ‘anti-politics’.

Chavismo, in the face of this, has been strengthening. I don’t believe that it was ever in crisis, but it has faced many challenges. Even though it was able to achieve 8 million votes for the National Constituent Assembly, it has taken up this election as yet another challenge, since there are people who criticise the management of the government.

Self criticism is the fundamental motor of the Chavismo movement; Chavez was the most critical, Maduro is completely critical, and so a very interesting avenue is opened with regards to governance. How to build socialism for the 21st Century, for instance, how to reach the goals set out by Commander Chavez in the Homeland Plan... All of this is written down; there is a Chavista doctrine, and a way of governing. If there are some deviations from this plan, we will face up to them. At this point, the result has been to unify the Chavismo movement.


There are figures who were previously Chavista, such as the ex public prosecutor Luisa Ortega, who question the current direction taken.

The Bolivarian Revolution and the Chavismo movement are like an overflowing river, dragging in its path stones, rocks and mud… As the river reaches its destination, that rubbish is left on the banks, but the essential element, the water, carries on. In our political organisation there have been people who have deviated from the path, almost all of them due to corruption, which is a shame. Each time the State denounces someone within its ranks as being involved in corruption, they immediately seek protection within the ranks of the opposition. That isn’t a crisis of Chavismo, but a personal crisis.


The National Constituent Assembly also has generated a set of expectations in many people. There are many problems yet to be resolved. Do you think there is a risk that they might turn against the Government if it does not succeed in addressing these difficulties?

Asking the people to voice themselves is not a risk. The Constituent cannot be a failure because the people are sovereign. As such, it is the expression of the original power. The traditional political predictions do not work.

The leadership has taken a lot of care, and shown dedication. We aren’t wrong in this: the changes that will happen will be for the better. Many people were scared about how many people could participate; it’s the same things they said to Chavez.

Whenever the people are asked to vote, there are people who come out saying that they should not be asked, that it’s a risk. The president has placed his trust in the people and they responded. Chavista doctrine says that you can never be wrong if you call on the people.

The accusations of ‘dictatorship’ are paradoxical, and herein lies the success of the Bolivarian Revolution, in the permanent consultation of the people. In face of the economic crisis, the attack of the media, international attacks… Maduro called a popular consultation. You would be forgiven for thinking he was mad, but just look at the response.

Popular support remains very solid. This was built over the last four years in which popular support was declining, but we have shown that this is not true, that Chavismo is intact, due to a government that has been confronting an artificially-induced economic crisis which has caused serious problems for the population.


Originally published in Spanish:



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