Venezuela’s Maduro says rival Guaido ‘serves the interests of US and Zionists’
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Venezuela’s Maduro says rival Guaido ‘serves the interests of US and Zionists’

Venezuelan leader tells Hezbollah-linked outlet he feels ‘love for the noble Palestinian cause,’ denies Lebanese terror group’s operatives in country

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gestures while giving a speech in Caracas, Venezuela, on February 12, 2019. (Orangel  Hernandez/AFP)
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gestures while giving a speech in Caracas, Venezuela, on February 12, 2019. (Orangel Hernandez/AFP)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, called the self-declared interim president and opposition leader Juan Guaido “a CIA agent who serves the interests of the United States and the Zionists” in an interview with the Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese media outlet, al-Mayadeen.

He added in the interview posted on Tuesday that he feels “love for the noble Palestinian cause,” and sent words of “encouragement to the Palestinian and Arab prisoners confined in Israeli jails.”

Maduro denied that there are Hezbollah operatives acting in Venezuela. And he accused the United States for trying seize the wealth and oil of Venezuela.

Guaido, the president of the National Assembly of Venezuela, on January 23 declared himself the country’s interim president and called on Maduro to order new elections.

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido gestures during a meeting with workers and union leaders in Caracas on February 14, 2019. (Federico Parra/AFP)

The United States, European countries and other world leaders maintain that Maduro’s re-election last year was fraudulent and have recognized Guaido as the country’s interim leader, as has Israel. The country’s military remains loyal to Maduro, however.

Hezbollah, a Lebanese terror group, backed Maduro as president after Guaido announced his takeover.

“It is a farce that Maduro uses Hezbollah-related media to deny that the Iranian-backed terrorist movement is using Venezuela as a hub for activity across Latin America,” Shimon Samuels, director for International Relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement.

The Wiesenthal Center, using the research of assassinated Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, reported that there were 90 Hezbollah sleepers in that country and probably more in Venezuela after former Venezuelan Vice President Tarek El Assaimi granted more than 150 Venezuelan passports to members of Hezbollah “who knew no Spanish,” Samuels said.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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