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Top Maduro Ally Slams USA & # 39; Intervention & # 39; in Venezuela



UREÑA, Venezuela-Diosdado Cabello, a strong figure in President Nicolás Maduro's regime accused of drug trafficking in the United States, told The Wall Street Journal that the authoritarian leader's government would withstand a US-led regime change regime.

"They are very confused if they think we will surrender that we will accept that they come here to act against the Venezuelan people," Mr. Cabello, who heads a special assembly, Mr. Maduro set up to neutralize opposition-controlled National Assembly, said Friday in an interview on the border with Colombia.

Although it is generally perceived to be the most powerful man in Venezuela after the president, Mr Cabello typically does not speak with independent media and instead continues on his show on state television, "Hitting with the Club", where he spits opponents and the US Government.

But he spoke to the journal in this imprint of a border town where he ruled Saturday says it will stop the opposition's efforts to catch tons of humanitarian aid, a strategy it claims is intended to weaken the government .

Herr. Maduro's aides played a concert here on Friday on the Venezuelan side of the Tienditas Bridge to compete with a larger bash organized by the Virgin Atlantic founder, Richard Branson, on the other. And Mr. Cabello participated and went on stage with pro-government musicians.

"It's not help, it's not humanitarian," Cabello said, calling the aid "a form of action against our country."

Obediently defiant to the United States threats that the possibility of power remained on the table, Cabello promised that "no foreign soldier would lay a foot here in Venezuela." He called Venezuela "holy land" and said, "We will respond if a foreign soldier intends to cross into Venezuela."

Mr. Cabello spoke one day after a retired Secretary-General who once led Venezuela's military intelligence, Hugo Carvajal, announced that he would receive opposition leader Juan Guaidó and said the authorities should allow help to flow into Venezuela. Sir. Carvajal, a former Secretary General, had long been close to Mr Cabello, even a former army lieutenant, as military analysts say, has a major influence on the armed forces.

"No one understands him," said Mr Cabello about Mr Carvajal. "Hugo Carvajal has become a traitor to the homeland."

U.S. federal prosecutors have long directed Mr. cabello for alleged ties to cocaine trade, which he has strongly denied. In late May, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on him for state-supported trade and corruption, and he attended more than 50 other Venezuelan officials sanctioned by Washington.

Still in the interview, Mr Cabello said that "there are contacts" between Maduro regime and US officials without preparing and saying that the regime would continue to work to find a negotiated solution.

The Trump administration and Venezuelan opposition have said that they are both considering demanding delays in deliberate tactics used by the Maduro regime to remain in power. Until the end of 201

7, the opposition and government were in negotiations supported by the US State Department.

Write to Juan Forero at Juan.Forero@wsj.com


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