Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro ordered his foreign minister to reach out to American counterparts to schedule a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday.
Maduro has repeatedly insulted Trump, telling the U.S. President to “get your dirty hands” out of South America.
Maduro attended a meeting of the fabricated “national constituents assembly” (ANC) Thursday—a body he created to replace the democratically-elected National Assembly—in which his hand-picked lawmakers reaffirmed their support for his leadership. During the meeting, Maduro announced that he had ordered foreign minister Jorge Arreaza to communicate to his counterparts that he sought a personal meeting with Trump.
“Mister Donald Trump, here is my hand, if you want a hand. Here is my word that I have it,” Maduro proclaimed.
He added that he sought to visit New York for the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September—despite U.S. sanctions banning him from entering the country—and hoped that they could find a time to speak in person during that assembly.
Maduro also called for the heads of other states in the Americas who have vocally opposed his decision to undermine the nation’s constitution to enter multilateral talks. “I don’t see why anyone would refuse a closed-door summit,” Maduro said. “If we have to lock ourselves up for two days speaking from person to person, let’s talk and try to repair Latin American and Caribbean relations and let’s come up with a common agenda with the issues that unite the region.”
During the same speech, however, Maduro delivered a tirade against Trump and the over one dozen governments of the Western Hemisphere that have rejected the authority Maduro has given the ANC, instead pledging to agree to only treaties passed by the opposition-controlled National Assembly.
Calling Trump a “sultan” and “emperor,” he asked, “Does emperor Trump think that he is the governor of the world? Is he the new sultan? The new king of kings? The only king of kings is our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“The most anti-popular, savagely capitalist, and even more savagely subordinated by American foreign relations governments receive orders from Washington,” Maduro thundered, targeting Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto in particular. “Peña Nieto does not know how to defend the boys and girls, the young, or the men and women persecuted for the crime of being migrants, but the U.S. Treasury Department sanctions … and there they go saying they will sanction, too.”
Maduro appeared particularly incensed at sanctions levied this week against Adán Chávez Frías, a member of the ANC and brother of late dictator Hugo Chávez. “There is no moral, no ethics, and no judicial basis for these sanctions,” Maduro claimed, alleging that Chávez was sanctioned exclusively for his family ties.
The Treasury asserted that Adán Chávez played a pivotal role in organizing the ANC, which is an attempt to completely dismantle the country’s democratic order, and as such was not welcome in the United States or as a potential business partner of Americans.
The U.S. Treasury sanctioned Maduro personally in July, a rare step against a foreign head of state.
The speech was neither the first time Maduro reached out to Trump, nor the first time he called him “emperor.” In July, Maduro attempted to send a message to Trump in English, which he does not speak, shouting, “Mister Emperator Trump, go home!”
“The emperor Donald Trump, His Majesty the Emperor Donald Trump has ordered us to suspend the constituent [election] and his subject, the vassal [Colombian President] Juan Manuel Santos, on his knees, has ordered Venezuela to suspend the constituent [election],” he said at the time, shortly before the July 30 election to install the ANC. “What do we do? Who do we obey? Who governs Venezuela?”
In May, Maduro issued a similar outburst in a speech against Trump. “I reject and repudiate Donald Trump’s statements against the dignity of the Venezuelan nation,” Maduro said at the time. “Get your dirty hands out of here, Donald Trump! Enough with imperialist intervention!”