Caracas, November 21, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro hit back at US President Barack Obama after the latter expressed veiled criticisms of Venezuela at an international trade summit in Peru.
Speaking at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Lima, the outgoing US leader took aim at Latin American countries he described as maintaining “repressive non-democratic governance”.
“You’re seeing some countries that are going backward rather than forwards in terms of freedom of press, freedom of the internet, in terms of respecting political opposition and civil society,” he said in a not so subtle reference to left-leaning governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua.
“You can maintain order for a while with repressive nondemocratic governance, but it will rot from within,” the head of state continued. “Over time, those governments fail and those economies fail.”
Maduro fired back Sunday, accusing Obama of coming to the region to “preach” democracy “of elites and billionaires”.
“Yesterday [Barack Obama] came to talk nonsense about Venezuela in Peru. He comes to South America to speak against Venezuela. Despicable as they are, they haven’t been able to beat Venezuela, nor will they,” he declared during his weekly television program on Sunday.
The leftist leader further announced that he would be sending a personal letter to Obama requesting that he repeal an infamous 2015 executive order branding Venezuela “an unusual and extraordinary threat to US national security” and imposing sanctions.
Despite admitting last year that the South American country does not constitute a “threat” to the US in response to an international campaign led by Maduro, President Obama proceeded to renew the decree this past March.
Notwithstanding his criticisms of the lame duck president, Maduro expressed hope of better relations with the incoming Trump administration.
“I aspire, hope and will work so that with the Donald Trump, Venezuela will have better relations of respect with the United States… and overcome… [the] grave errors committed by George W. Bush which were sadly deepened by Obama,” he affirmed.
During the campaign, the real estate mogul-turned-president-elect was largely silent on Venezuela, although he did promise increased US pressure on both Caracas and Havana, pledging solidarity “with the oppressed people of Venezuela yearning to be free.”
President Obama, for his part, has suggested that Trump would “keep the status quo” of current US policy towards South America.