Venezuelan president addresses armed forces following ruling party’s election defeat

CCTV News

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks to supporters from a truck outside of Miraflores Presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano) Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks to supporters from a truck outside of Miraflores Presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Following the ruling socialist government’s political defeat in last week’s legislative elections, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said he wants to strengthen the country’s military.

CCTV America’s Stephen Gibbs reports from Caracas.

Follow Stephen Gibbs on Twitter @STHGibbs

Venezuelan president addresses armed forces following ruling party\'s election defeat

Venezuelan president addresses armed forces following ruling party\'s election defeat

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said he wants to strengthen the country's military, following the ruling socialist government's political defeat in last week's legislative elections. CCTV America's Stephen Gibbs reports from Caracas.

It’s end of the winter term at Venezuela’s military academy. The troops have gathered to hear a Christmas message from their commander in chief.

If President Nicolas Maduro looks uncomfortable, there’s a reason why. His ruling party has just been soundly defeated in parliamentary elections.

That’s led to speculation of strains between Maduro and the powerful man on his left, General Padrino Lopez, his minister of defense. Addressing the crowd, the President effusively praised the general and his army.

“We have a central pillar in this country which guarantees the stability of the country; and it’s called the Venezuelan Bolivarian Armed Forces!” Maduro said.

Unlike his predecessor Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro was never a soldier. He sometimes seems not entirely at ease in military company.

But in his speech, he repeatedly reassured the army that whatever the economic troubles this country faces, the armed forces have his full support.

Venezuela has one of the largest armies in Latin America. The president just announced some reforms.

A new special forces division is being created; and around the country, troops will be retuning to their barracks following the election period.

The President warned 2016 could represent a power struggle in Venezuela between opposition and government forces. Between, as he put it, the patriots and the anti-patriots. Victory, he said, will come through a radicalization of policy.

Maduro wished the troops a happy Christmas and said he would see them in the New Year. A reminder perhaps that for all the talk of change here, the president is staying put.


Andrea Murta on Latin America’s political upheaval
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro is raising concerns about last week’s legislative elections, and thousands across Brazil are demanding the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.

With so much political upheaval in Latin America, CCTV America explored the issues with Andrea Murta. She’s Associate Director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council. Follow her on Twitter: @murta30.

Andrea Murta on Latin America\'s political upheaval

Andrea Murta on Latin America\'s political upheaval

With so much political upheaval in Latin America, CCTV America explored the issues with Andrea Murta. She's Associate Director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council.