Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolás Maduro has called Donald Trump’s government a “gang of extremists” and blamed the US for his country’s crisis.
In an interview with the BBC, Mr Maduro said he would not allow humanitarian aid into Venezuela as it was a way for the US to justify an intervention. “They are warmongering in order to take over Venezuela,” he said.
Relations between the US and Venezuela were already fraught before President Trump’s administration became one of the first to back the oppositor Juan Guaidó as interim leader. Venezuela broke off diplomatic relations in response while Mr Trump said the use of military force remained “an option”.
In a rare interview, Mr Maduro said he hoped “this extremist group in the White House is defeated by powerful world-wide public opinion”.
“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 added.
The US, which accuses Mr Maduro’s government of human rights violations and corruption, has led the international pressure on the Venezuelan president to step down.
When asked, in response to his Ku Klux Klan comment, if he believed Mr Trump was a “white supremacist”, Mr Maduro said: “He is, publicly and openly… They hate us, they belittle us, because they only believe in their own interests, and in the interests of the United States”.
Maduro, who has blamed US sanctions for Venezuela’s economic woes, said the US intended to “create a humanitarian crisis in order to justify a military intervention”.
“This is part of that charade. That’s why, with all dignity, we tell them we don’t want their crumbs, their toxic food, their left-overs.”
Maduro – who still has the support of Turkey, Russia and China and, crucially, of the Venezuelan army – said he did not see the need for early presidential elections. “What’s the logic, reasoning, to repeat an election?”, he asked.