Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolás Maduro excoriated U.S. President Donald Trump as a white supremacist and declared the White House to be ruled by the Ku Klux Klan during an interview with the BBC published this week.
Maduro blamed stiff U.S. sanctions for his country’s economic woes and said the Trump administration was “warmongering” and inventing a humanitarian crisis “that does not exist” in order to “take over” the South American nation.
“It’s a political war of the United States empire, of the interests of the extreme right that today is governing, of the Ku Klux Klan, that rules the White House, to take over Venezuela,” he told the BBC.
Maduro’s legitimacy as president has been questioned since he was re-elected last year in a vote widely condemned as rigged. The U.S., along with most Western governments, has since recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president.
Millions of people have fled Venezuela in recent years because of soaring inflation and unemployment, as well as shortages of food and medicine. In November, the United Nations said the country’s hunger rate had tripled since 2010.
Yet, in his interview with BBC’s Orla Guerin, Maduro insisted that Venezuela is “not a country with hunger” and said the U.S. had invented a “humanitarian crisis in order to justify a military intervention” in Venezuela.
“Venezuela has the highest levels of nutrients, has extremely high levels of access to food and that stereotype, that stigma that [the West has] tried to put on us, has only one objective: present a humanitarian crisis that does not exist in Venezuela, in order to do an intervention,” he told Guerin.
This “charade,” Maduro said earlier in the interview, is why he has blocked foreign humanitarian aid from entering the country.
“That’s the reason that we, with dignity, tell them that the minuscule crumbs that they intend to bring with toxic food, with leftovers that they have, we tell them no ― Venezuela has dignity, Venezuela produces and works and our people do not beg from anyone,” he said.
Asked specifically whether he believed Trump was a “white supremacist,” Maduro responded that “he is, publicly and openly.”
“They hate us Latin Americans, Central Americans, Mexicans, Venezuelans. They hate us, they belittle us, they hate the entire world, because they only believe in their own interests, and in the interests of the United States,” he continued.
Maduro, in a separate interview with Euronews, also slammed the European Union for “blindly associating itself with Donald Trump’s bad politics.”
“Trump’s politics have discarded NATO, EU governments, and the EU. Trump has twisted their arm and imposed his politics that have damaged Venezuela,” he said.
The socialist leader’s remarks come on the heels of Trump’s State of the Union address, in which the American leader took aim at Maduro’s government.
“We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom — and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair,” Trump said last week.