Yesterday, March 10, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro requested of the National Assembly an Anti-imperialist Enabling Law in order to “defend the peace, sovereignty and full development of Venezuela in the face of threats from the United States empire.”

“It is necessary to my ability to navigate the complicated scene which has begun for Venezuela,” he continued.

During a meeting with the Council of Ministers broadcast on national television, Maduro also read a letter from the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro who congratulated Maduro for his “brilliant and courageous speech denouncing the brutal plans of the U.S. government,” and added, “Your words go down in history as proof that humanity can and must know the truth.”

Addressing the declaration issued by Washington labeling Venezuela a threat to U.S. national security, Maduro reiterated that no one in the world could believe the assertion since the Venezuelan people are known as “peaceful, democratic, humanist and have a foreign policy directed toward understanding and peace… leaders in the struggle for integration and unity.”

The U.S. measure includes sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials, and represents the most serious threat to date on the of the U.S. government, Maduro said, while announcing the scheduling of a defensive military exercise for March 14, to identify key defensive points in the nation.

He further noted that mid-term parliamentary elections will take place this year to ensure that “The people may decide what will happen in this country.”

An “enabling” law is a legal tool established in the Constitution providing the President authority to issue decrees with the force of law during emergencies and times of pressing need. Such a law must be approved by three fifths of the National Assembly, 99 of the country’s 165 legislators.

Maduro requested an enabling law on one previous occasion, in October of 2013, in order to decisively confront corruption.