The socialist regime of Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro dismissed on Wednesday President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address as a “circus spectacle” that the Venezuelan people found “offensive and disrespectful.”
Among Trump’s guests on Tuesday night was the legitimate President of Venezuela Juan Guaidó, who Maduro has refused to allow to use his powers by maintaining a stranglehold on the Venezuelan military and keeping control of the presidential palace. Trump acknowledged Guaidó and promised him the full backing of the American people as Guaidó received a standing ovation. Trump met with Guaidó at the White House on Wednesday.
“In an agonizing effort to revive the already failed strategy of changing the government by force in the middle of a circus spectacle, Trump offended and disrespected the Venezuelan people by offering violent threats against their integrity and the legitimate, constitutional, and democratic government of President Nicolás Maduro Moros,” Maduro’s “foreign minister,” Jorge Arreaza, said in a written statement. “Venezuela is and will be irrevocably free and independent, only the people of Venezuela will determine its victorious, sovereign, and socialist present and future.”
Arreaza’s statement went on to accuse Trump of delivering a “delirious and arrogant” national address with “disdain for peace, for international law, and in particular for the sovereignty of Venezuela” and promised Maduro’s regime would never allow America to “plague our America with misery in the name of false freedom.”
#VIDEO 📹 | Canciller de Venezuela, @jaarreaza: Trump reitero su desprecio por la Paz, derecho internacional, la vida y en particular su desprecio hacia la soberanía de Venezuela#ProducciónEnCrecimiento pic.twitter.com/8l5IXSpTMC
— VTV CANAL 8 (@VTVcanal8) February 5, 2020
Arreaza’s statement falsely refers to Maduro as the president of the country. Maduro makes this claim based on a presidential election he held in May 2018 that most of the free world considers illegitimate. Maduro banned non-Marxist candidates from running in that election and intimidated government workers and those dependent on socialists for access to basic goods and food – which is a large percentage of the country after two decades of socialist decline – into voting for his United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Despite the intimidation, the election marked the lowest turnout in the history of the country.
Given that the election was fraudulent, Maduro’s presidential term ended in January 2019. The National Assembly, assuming its constitutional role in the event of what the Venezuelan constitution calls a “rupture in the democratic order,” appointed Guaidó as interim president to fill the void left by Maduro’s illegitimacy. Guaidó has completely failed to exercise any of his presidential powers, however, as Maduro maintains control of the Venezuelan military and the presidential palace. Through the military, Maduro has maintained a campaign of state force to kill, injure, imprison, and torture political dissidents since he took power in 2013.
The PSUV, rather than offering a comment, reposted on Twitter a video that appeared to refer to Guaidó’s presence in Washington: remarks by late socialist dictator Hugo Chávez accusing the United States of “daily campaigns” of “confusion” that target the nation’s middle class and entice them to support capitalism.
“American imperialism … is or it has achieved it in those daily campaigns, and all-hour campaigns through TV, through radio, through written press, to confuse millions of our compatriots,” Chávez said in the video. “Many of them living in poverty, even, or many of them having studied and living in the middle class, they do a lot of harm there … take out of the state of confusion a lot of compatriots.”
El Comandante Chávez alertó sobre el peligro que representa para los pueblos las campañas de confusión que promueve el imperialismo a través de los medios de comunicación para atacar a los gobiernos y movimientos revolucionarios de nuestra América. pic.twitter.com/mXAxwPgpbJ
— PSUV (@PartidoPSUV) February 5, 2020
Maduro’s state propaganda network also posted a listicle of “the eight most shameful moments” from the State of the Union address, which listed Guaidó’s appearance as an embarrassment. In reality, Guaidó received a standing ovation, as did President Trump for his remarks on the situation in Venezuela.White House
“The United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro,” Trump said in his speech. “Maduro is an illegitimate ruler, a tyrant who brutalizes his people. But Maduro’s grip of tyranny will be smashed and broken.”
He then introduced the president of Venezuela.
“Here this evening is a man who carries with him the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of all Venezuelans. Joining us in the gallery is the true and legitimate President of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó,” Trump continued. “Mr. President, please take this message back to your homeland: All Americans are united with the Venezuelan people in their righteous struggle for freedom! Socialism destroys nations. But always remember, freedom unifies the soul.”
¡Estamos unidos, Presidente @realDonaldTrump!
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) February 5, 2020
“We are united, President [Trump]!” Guaidó posted on Twitter after his appearance at the speech. “I leave with the commitment and support of the [United States] of our struggle to achieve the freedom of Venezuela. In name of millions of Venezuelans who continue on our feet struggling: thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, people of the [United States].”
Guaidó and Trump later met in a closed-door meeting at the Oval Office Thursday.