Trump acting like ‘the world’s emperor’, Venezuela tells UN
Venezuela’s top diplomat on Monday accused Donald Trump of acting like “the world’s emperor”, batting back the US president’s biting rebukes of Venezuela on the global stage of the UN General Assembly.
Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza’s speech at the assembly came a day after Trump signed a travel ban affecting some Venezuelan officials, and nearly a week after Trump denounced turmoil-racked Venezuela’s “corrupt regime” in his own address to the assembly’s annual gathering of world leaders.
“As if he were the world’s emperor, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, used this podium built for peace to announce wars, total destruction of member states” and “coercive measures, threatening and judging as if he had absolute, dictatorial powers over the sovereign member states of our organisation”, Arreaza said.
Trump had threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend the US or its allies.
Invoking former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s famous quip that the podium “smells like sulphur” after US president at the time George W. Bush addressed the assembly in 2006, Arreaza said: “It’s still valid.”
But he said later that his country was open to dialogue with the US. The US had no immediate response to Arreaza’s remarks.
Venezuela’s government has faced international criticism over a new constitutional assembly composed of government loyalists that has gone after Maduro’s political opponents.
Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have fled the political tumult, triple-digit inflation and shortages of food and medicine.
Trump’s administration slapped sweeping economic sanctions on Venezuela last month, and the president said he wouldn’t rule out military action against the country. Last week, Trump devoted as much of his debut General Assembly speech to excoriating Venezuela as he did to North Korea, Syria and Iran.
“This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation by imposing a failed ideology,” Trump said of the socialist country. He said that the US was “prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule”.
Maduro responded last week from Caracas by calling Trump “the new Hitler” of international politics and accusing Trump of threatening to assassinate him, though Trump did not say that.
On Sunday, Trump signed an order that will bar certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate families from entering the US.
Venezuela’s foreign ministry denounced the travel restrictions Monday as a form of “political and psychological terrorism”.