CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said the purge by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meted out on rivals after a failed coup would look like child’s play compared with the action he would take if the opposition tried something similar in the OPEC nation.
“Did you see what happened in Turkey?” said Maduro, in a televised public event on Thursday evening. “Erdogan will seem like a nursing baby compared to what the Bolivarian revolution will do if the right wing steps over the line with a coup.”
After an abortive military coup in July, Erdogan’s government detained, suspended or placed under investigation more than 60,000 people in the military, judiciary, civil service and education.
Ever since Maduro’s mentor, the late President Hugo Chavez survived an opposition-backed coup attempt in 2002, the revolution he named after Latin American liberator Simon Bolivar has tarred opponents as intent on retaking power by force.
Maduro is facing plunging popularity as low oil prices and economic mismanagement have dragged one of the wealthiest countries in the Americas into a deep recession, triggering shortages of basics like food and medicines.
The opposition plans a big march in Caracas on September 1 to demand a recall referendum aimed at cutting short Maduro’s six-year term, due to end in 2019.