War declared against Venezuela's government, says envoy

A war has been declared against Venezuela's system of government, the country's ambassador to Turkey Jose Gregorio Bracho Reyes said on Friday.

"What's happening today is a declaration of war against the Bolivarian government system in Venezuela," Reyes said, referring to the 19th-century Venezuelan leader and liberator of Latin America.

Speaking at a conference titled "The Coup Attempt in Venezuela" at the Institute of Strategic Thinking in the Turkish capital Ankara, Reyes said the U.S. and some U.S.-controlled Latin countries are trying to not recognize the country's President Nicolas Maduro, who was legally elected.

"No one can unexpectedly declare himself a president in a democratic country," he added.

Tensions escalated this week in Venezuela after Juan Guaido, the leader of Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly, declared himself interim president, directly challenging Maduro's authority.

On Wednesday, the U.S. recognized Guaido as Venezuela's interim president, escalating the ongoing feud between Washington and Maduro.

Reyes said no outside countries can decide who will exercise executive power in Venezuela.

Maduro was elected legally and democratically, he said, adding: "Venezuela recognizes the president who was elected democratically. However, it is a shame that the U.S. and some other countries, which call themselves democratic countries, recognized a person who declared himself president."

Reyes called Guaido an "unhealthy" person.

He added that support for the opposition came from abroad. Reyes also said the Venezuelan government is open for a dialogue with the opposition. "Because we are a pacifist country," he added.

The ambassador said Turkey's solidarity with Venezuela has been proven repeatedly.

Turkey has voiced solidarity with Venezuela, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara is against any kind of coup attempt, no matter where it is.

Reyes said Venezuela was the first Latin country to voice support to Turkey's government after the 2016 defeated coup.

The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

"We have lots of things to learn from Turkey" Reyes added.

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