Maduro claims the Obama administration spends $5 million annually in support of opposition movements in Venezuela. This is in addition to the bill now in Congress sponsored by Senators Robert Menendez, D-NJ, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., that would send $15 million to opposition groups and a bill that would impose economic sanctions on Venezuela.
"I hope that the American people, knowing the truth, will decide that Venezuela and its people do not deserve such punishment, and will call upon their representatives not to enact sanctions," said Maduro in his plea.
As for the "truth," Maduro also says in the piece that the media has distorted the civil unrest in Venezuela to make the anti-government activists look like peaceful protesters against a violent and oppressive government, but in reality the protesters are the ones who are violent and trying to cause the ouster of a democratically elected government.
"The claims that Venezuela has a deficient democracy and that current protests represent mainstream sentiment are belied by the facts. The anti-government protests are being carried out by people in the wealthier segments of society who seek to reverse the gains of the democratic process that have benefited the vast majority of the people."
Along with his plea, Maduro says the time has come for diplomacy between the two nations and says the Venezuelan government has reached out to U.S. President Barack Obama to once again exchange ambassadors.
"Venezuela needs peace and dialogue to move forward. We welcome anyone who sincerely wants to help us reach these goals."
[New York Times] [Wochit]