Bolivian President Evo Morales on Thursday slammed ongoing right-wing opposition protests in Venezuela, claiming they serve the interests of multinational elites looking to privatize the country’s oil resources.
Morales also said foreign and domestic attacks against President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution are intended to send a threatening message to anti-imperialist governments around the world.
“The plan of the empire is to overthrow the constitutional president elected by Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, as a warning to anti-imperialist governments,” Morales said.
“Any internal conspiracy or external intervention is intended to steal Venezuelan oil.”
For weeks, opposition demonstrators have held violent protests in several cities across the country, calling for regime change and international intervention. The protesters, backed by the U.S. government and the Organization of American States, OAS, have also supported calls for privatizing Venezuela’s publicly-run Petroleum of Venezuela, or PDVSA, oil and natural gas company.
At least nine people have died from the protests.
Despite these deaths, opposition leaders like Henrique Capriles and Maria Corina Machado have called on protesters to continue violent demonstrations in order to force Maduro’s ouster.
Venezuelan authorities have called on the OAS to condemn the violence perpetrated by the opposition but to no avail.
Venezuela’s Ministry of the Interior said recent attacks against civilians and police were planned by the opposition after three people were killed on Wednesday.
Among those killed during protest violence on Wednesday was Niumar Jose Sanclemente Barrios, a 28-year-old sergeant with the National Guard, who was apparently killed by sniper fire during riots in the Caracas suburb of San Antonio de las Altas.
“We know there are groups interested in selling the world a country in chaos,” Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami said on Wednesday after the murder.
“Henrique Capriles has said in an irresponsible manner that the government is guilty of these deaths and therefore will have to prove these serious allegations in court.”