Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro hailed the 42nd anniversary of the death of Chinese communist revolutionary Mao Zedong on Sunday, describing him as a leader who provided dignity to the country’s starving peasantry.
Maduro notably did not claim Mao provided the starving peasantry with food, whose “Great Leap Forward” led to a famine believed to have killed an estimated 60 million people.
“42 years ago, the Great Chinese revolutionary, Mao Tse Tung, died,” Maduro wrote on Twitter. “A communist leader and the first president of the People’s Republic; his government dignified the people of the countryside. Mao gave us a legacy of an anti-imperialist struggle.”
Hace 42 años falleció el Gran Timonel de la Revolución China, Mao Tse Tung. Líder del Partido Comunista y 1er Presidente de la República Popular; su gobierno dignificó al pueblo campesino. Mao nos dejó un legado de lucha antiimperialista junto a la clase obrera. ¡Venceremos! pic.twitter.com/2e7v2bgdME
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) September 9, 2018
Mao, who ruled China from 1949 until his death in 1976, is widely acknowledged to be the greatest mass murderer in history, with an estimated 65 million people dying as a result of his attempts to build a socialist China. Those who opposed him were destroyed, mainly through execution, imprisonment, or forced famine. Mao reportedly set a murder quota of killing one per every thousand people in China to eliminate opposition to his rule.
The famines of China under Mao may seem familiar to many in Venezuela, where millions of people are now suffering from malnutrition and living in dire poverty in the aftermath of Hugo Chávez’s “Bolivarian Revolution.” As a result of a socialist policy that gave the government control of most private sectors and access to the country’s significant oil revenues, millions of people are fleeing the country in search of economic and political refuge.
Maduro’s support for Mao reflects an ambition to turn Venezuela, a once prosperous country with the world’s largest oil reserves, into a totalitarian communist dictatorship styled on Cuba, the Soviet Union, and North Korea. The regime has also stepped up its use of repression against political dissidents, with hundreds of anti-Maduro activists imprisoned where they are reportedly subject to torture and other human rights abuses.
In the modern world, the Maduro regime maintains close diplomatic relationships with the world’s remaining communist or left-wing regimes such as Cuba, China, Iran, and Syria. His regime has managed to forge a relationship with North Korea, with Pyongyang sending his party a message of “firm support and solidarity” with their “struggle for independence and socialism against imperialism” this year.