Here are relevant parts of an interview by TeleSUR with President Maduro, translated and published by venezuelanalysis.com.
[on the Essequibo dispute and Exxon Mobil]
There is a brutal campaign against Venezuela of lies, funded by Exxon Mobil, a U.S.-based oil transnational linked to the gun lobby in Washington, which has great influence within the Pentagon. While Obama is the president of the United States, his empire's influence goes far beyond him. Exxon Mobil has funded TV, radio and press campaigns, as well as political factions in the Caribbean, specifically Guyana.
This campaign is about economics, energy, geopolitics, land. It forms part of a campaign to put together an operation to “squeeze” Venezuela, which was exposed in Parliament.
It is trying to provoke a conflict to undermine the union of Caribbean and Latin America and undermine vital projects like PetroCaribe and overturn the policy of peace (Venezuela's socialist government) has maintained, as well as the fraternity we've forged with the people of the Caribbean.
It has several objectives, when Obama issued the decree of March 9 (calling Venezuela a threat to national security), I explained the reasons behind it and, simultaneously on the day the decree was issued, and our people began the battle (against it), they were strategizing in Guyana to provoke this moment of tension. (Essequibo) is indisputably Venezuela's by historical right (...) plundered by the British Empire in the 19th century.
This campaign, suggesting Venezuela is the aggressor, is a campaign that was created in the Caribbean. How do you respond to this, and what message to you send to the people of Guyana?
I said it in the National Assembly. If you look at the DNA of our mixed blood, you'll find the blood of Bolivar, Guacaipuro, Negro Primero and Sucre — who (went to great lengths to) free the people, who gave their lives and wealth. Liberator Simon Bolivar was born in one of the wealthiest families of the time, but, when he died in Santa Martha (Colombia), he died in a second hand shirt. He didn't have a home to die in. We are his children, the children of (former President Hugo) Chavez, who led a new stage (of struggle). Are they going to ignore the role of PetroCaribe as a project of solidarity, integration, brotherhood?
So let them say Exxon Mobil, which financed President David Granger's campaign, has given a little bit of petroleum to the people of Guyana, or the people of the Caribbean. But there is a campaign to show a back-to-front world, as great Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano said. Now Venezuela is the imperialist country, the aggressor. So I tell the people of Guyana: We are the country that was deprived and this land, the Essequibo, wasn't given to us by British or Spanish imperialism. Our grandfathers won that sacred land fighting in battles.
The international media wants the world to believe that what the Greek people have suffered can be expected in Venezuela. How does Venezuela see the future, in terms of the situation its economy is facing, especially in an election year?
We are dealing with a sustained political and economic war. I think in the first semester they have hurt us. They have kept attacking us and we protect the people. I think we are the only country in the world to increase wages three times, and in the last 15 years we have increased it 28 times, in order to protect people’s real income. We broke records with unemployment in the first four months of the year. I prioritized investment in public works, more than 66 billion bolivars. We advanced in building housing, beyond the aim of 400,000 housing units this year.
We're moving ahead with strength in all areas of battle; national and international politics, because we have morale and the truth, because we love this country. Four elites are not going to take away our social project, which we will defend with everything we've got, including our lives.
Can this “hijacking of the economy,” this economic war be won?
It’s a complex process in which we have to take measures and we are getting to the point of defeating the economic war. Almost 100 percent of the distribution systems of the country are in the hands of the capitalists, the private sector. What is in our hands works, the people have their services and products at fair prices. If you go to the public (distribution) networks, which are being attacked, people obtain the products at the prices they should be. Now, the economic war and the fear campaign will burn out because the people aren't kowtowing to it.
People can of course be bothered by things, but they know who the enemies are and why they do what they do. I am going to a lot of effort so that the people have their public education. This year is going to be a big test. The elections on Dec. 6 … we're ready for them, we're battle hardened. When the National Electoral Council authorizes it, we'll see the people in the streets. It will be a blow to the people who are waging this economic war, those who have been supported by international interests, those who haven't supported the struggle for Essequibo, because the people are clear.