Univision on Sunday released an interview between Jorge Ramos and Venezuelan dictator Nicholas Maduro that took place back in February. The interview was filmed months ago but is just now being released because the Venezuelan government attempted to censor the television network from airing the discussion. The network just received the full interview.
In the interview, Ramos points out that countries around the world don't consider Maduro to be the legitimate president of Venezuela.
"You know you are not the legitimate president so what should I call you?" Ramos asked. "For them you are a dictator.
"Do you know what this is?" Maduro asks, holding up a small blue booklet.
"Of course I do," Ramos replied. "The Constitution."
"You must call me what the Constitution says I am," Maduro replied. "My name is Nicholas I only have one name, Nicolas, Nicolas Maduro Moros. I am a worker, a simple man. I am popular. I was voted and re-elected into office. So it's up to you what you decide to call me but I have welcomed you to the Miraflores Presidential Palace where I was legitimately placed by the popular vote. We have obtained everything, Jorge, through the popular vote. We are a force. We are the real deal. Maybe at the network where you work they present us as a cornered minority but we are a real force deep in the Venezuelan people."
Ramos pushed back.
"But 52 countries do not consider you to be the legitimate president," Ramos said.
"We are talking about the country first and what you are going to call me now," Maduro replied.
"The opposition does not consider you the legitimate president either. They consider you an usurper," Ramos said. "Juan Guiado, the interim president, says you are an usurper."
"Let me tell you, they have a serious identity problem because they only recognize electoral results that favor them," Maduro said. "Out of the 25 elections that have taken place in this country, we have won 23 of them through voting, through hard work with the popular force."
According to Maduro, his opposition ignored the results of the April 2013 election when Hugo Chavez died.
"When Commander Hugo Chavez died I was left as the president in charge. I was the vice president of the republic," Maduro said.
"He handpicked you," Ramos interjected.
"Of course," Maduro agreed.
"There wasn't an election in your party. He picked you," Ramos said.
"As Commander, he gives an order and the political forces come together. All political forces, more than 14 political parties, the patriotic triumph and they ratify the decision of their commander," Maduro explained. "I was up for election on April 14, 2013 when he died. That election happened with international observers. Everyone participated."
Maduro reminisced about his inauguration, saying every president of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) – compromised of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay and Venezuela – recognized his election.
Ramos pointed out that his opposition said fraud took place in 2013 and Henrique Capriles, the opposition candidate at the time, didn't recognize the election as legitimate.
"He never showed any documents showing any irregularity," Maduro replied.
Ramos cut him off.
"Excuse me. There were many irregularities, intimidations. There was intimidation at the voting sites," Ramos said.
Maduro wasn't happy with Ramos' pushback.
"You need to be more balanced. We have to do a balanced interview. This has to be a dialogue," Maduro said.
"Let me give you the information I have to support this," Ramos said.
"Let me speak," Maduro said.
"And you can give me your facts," Ramos said.
"No, no. These are not facts," Maduro said. "It's your position against the Bolivarian Revolution. I respect this. You are a right-wing opponent that lives in the United States. Very anti-revolution. You aren't just a journalist, Jorge."
"I'm a journalist who asks questions," Ramos said.
"Alright. I wish it were that way. That's why I tell you, try to be more objective. Don't take on pre-conceived positions, the lies of the Venezuelan opposition," Maduro said.
According to Maduro, the opposition picks and chooses what election results they accept.
"Simply put, the opposition does not have a democratic vision for the country," Maduro said. "The opposition just wants to sweep away the revolution."
Ramos laid out the reason why people consider the previous elections to be illegitimate.
"In 2018 they also did not recognize that election. They fully believe that you moved up the elections illegitimately, that it suppressed candidates that could beat you, like Henrique Capriles and Leopoldo Lopez," Ramos explained. "You didn't allow any international observers and the National Election Council, that you control, counted the votes. It's like a soccer game without an opposing team, without a referee and then you set the scoreboard."
"You have fallen into the error of not being a journalist, of being a political activist of the opposition," Maduro said.
"Those are the facts," Ramos said.
"Those are your facts, not the facts," Maduro said.
Maduro said he accepts Ramos as an opposition supporter, not a journalist.
"My role is as a journalist," Ramos said.
"You are not a journalist, Jorge. You know this," Maduro replied. "Now, let me answer you from the role you have taken on as a political activist of the Venezuelan opposition, extreme right, for the public you serve."
"You also have to listen to the other point of view," Ramos said.
"I always listen to it but you're not here as a journalist. I see you as a political activist of the opposition and we are in a debate," Maduro explained. "Of course, you are a foreigner."
"I am a journalist," Ramos replied.
"You are a foreigner. I have agreed to this interview because I knew it would be this way and so I could speak to the many Venezuelans that live in the United States and choose to ignore us and see the reality," Maduro explained. "We are the real deal."
According to Ramos, people's concerns are legitimate. But Maduro believes what's happening in Venezuela is because of those who moved to America.
"Unfortunately, a wave has risen within this group of Venezuelans in the U.S., especially in the political spheres, to call for an invasion of Venezuela," Maduro explained. "I want to say that this is a mistake, this is a big error. Venezuela should resolve its own issues in peace, in dialogue. We have to look for the ways to resolve the economic, social, political and national problems we have. It's not through an invasion, not through guardianship. Not through the intervention of a disastrous government like Donald Trump's. I have to ask, Jorge, when did Donald Trump suddenly feel a special love for Latin America? When did his heart open up to embrace Venezuelans and want to give us humanitarian aid to fix this country? This is all a farce! This is all a farce, Jorge."
"This has nothing to do with the United States. This has everything to do with the millions of Venezuelans, Mr. Maduro, who don't recognize you as the legitimate president," Ramos explained. "First, because they consider what happened to be fraud in May 2018. And second, for the assassinations they are blaming you for."
Maduro repeatedly denied any kind of wrongdoing, despite people dying at the hands of his government. Ramos confronted him a half a dozen more times and Maduro repeatedly said Ramos is a political activist.
Maduro is holding on to this notion that the opposition in his country is a result of President Donald Trump and Venezuelans living in America. The reality is people around the world want Maduro out because of the way he treats his people. They're starving. They're dying. And the violence is getting out of control.