Nicolas Maduro
Nicolas Maduro Reuters

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro this week described the self-declared interim president and opposition leader Juan Guaido as “a CIA agent who serves the interests of the United States and the Zionists”.

Maduro’s comments were made in an interview with the Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese Al-Mayadin TV and were quoted by JTA.

He added 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 blamed 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.

US President Donald Trump recognized Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela last week as did several other countries, including Israel. The country’s military remains loyal to Maduro, however.

Hezbollah backed Maduro as president after Guaido announced his takeover, as did Iran, which is Hezbollah’s main supporter and funder.

Iran has been a key supporter of Venezuela since the time of Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a close friend of Chavez and attended his funeral in 2013.

Chavez visited Tehran 13 times between his rise to power in 1999 and his death in 2013. Ahmadinejad visited Venezuela six times after he became Iran's president in 2005.