Venezuela’s Maduro Cheers Trump Departure: ‘We Beat Him!’

CARACAS, VENEZUELA - JANUARY 14: President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro (C) gestures along with the First Lady Cilia Flores (L) and Constituent Assembly President Diosdado Cabello Rondon (R) as they arrive to the President's annual address to the nation at the National Constituent Assembly on January 14, 2020 in Caracas, …
Carolina Cabral/Getty Images

Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro celebrated the departure of outgoing American President Donald Trump during a nationwide broadcast Wednesday, appearing to claim some responsibility for his electoral defeat by declaring, “We beat him!”

Maduro also urged President Joe Biden to seek “respectful” relations with Venezuela, failing to note he previously accused Biden of personally orchestrating a failed assassination plot against him in 2015.

Trump’s Venezuela policy was marked by his vocal opposition to socialism, repeated references to Maduro as a ruthless dictator, and support for President Juan Guaidó, the country’s legitimate head of state. While Guaidó has been the nation’s president since 2019, Maduro has retained full control of the military, preventing Guaidó from exercising any executive power save for sending ambassadors to democratic countries who recognized his legitimacy.

Biden, as of Thursday, appears to have little interest in changing Trump’s policy towards Maduro. Biden invited Guaidó’s ambassador to America, Carlos Vecchio, to his inauguration, and accepted Guaidó’s status as president. In campaigning, Biden accused Trump of being soft on Maduro, despite extensive sanctions mounting on Maduro and his closest officials throughout the Trump administration’s tenure.

Unlike Trump, Biden has personally met Maduro. The two exchanged friendly greetings during the inauguration of socialist Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in 2015. Reports from the time note that, despite Maduro being at the height of his use of state violence to silence dissidents, Biden joked around with him and complimented his hair.

Maduro celebrated the end of the Trump era on Wednesday.

“Donald Trump has left, we beat him, Venezuela’s victory,” Maduro declared. “The culture, identity, and rebelliousness of Venezuela has triumphed. Trump leaves but the Empire remains.”

Latin American communists refer to the United States as the “empire” as a form of demonizing the world’s preeminent democracy.

Maduro did not elaborate on what role Venezuela played in the American election. According to the Pew Research Center, American voters listed the economy, health care, Supreme Court appointments, and the coronavirus pandemic as the four most important issues swaying their vote. Venezuela did not appear in any form on the list.

Venezuelan-Americans were also pivotal in ensuring a comfortable win in Florida for Trump, precisely because of his anti-Maduro policies. His remarks Wednesday were not the first time Maduro took credit for Biden’s election win, however. In November, he claimed support for “imbecile” Guaidó cost Trump the election, despite the fact that Biden also recognizes Guaidó as the president of Venezuela.

“Trump’s failure in Venezuela cost him the election. The man guilty of the defeat of Donald Trump has a first name and last name in Venezuela — his name is Juan Guaidó,” Maduro alleged, before mocking Guaidó for recognizing Biden’s victory in the election.

Prior to these claims, Maduro’s henchmen had claimed to have an unspecified plan to take over the United States, beginning with socialist riots throughout Latin America. In 2019, socialists and communists began burning down cities in Chile, Ecuador, and other neighboring countries, to the delight of top Maduro crony Diosdado Cabello, a U.S.-sanctioned alleged drug kingpin.

“What is happening in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, Honduras is just a little breeze, and what is coming is a Bolivarian hurricane,” Cabello said in late 2019. “[The] Bolivarian breeze will reach the United States and it will have someone who governs for the people.”

Maduro recognized this week that he had personally met Biden — “I know Joe Biden, I can’t say any more because they’ll use it against me” — but did not note his prior insults against the then-vice president. The same year the two met, in 2015, Maduro stated during a televised broadcast that American officials had organized a coup against his regime. “I accuse the vice president of the U.S., Joe Biden,” he declared. Maduro would later go on to also accuse President Barack Obama, and Trump, of attempting to kill him.

Speaking on Wednesday, Maduro described Biden as “a man who is willing to fix the problems of his country.” “He has said that they are living a great crisis and has called for the unity of Americans,” Maduro claimed.

“Trump leaves, the Empire remains, but Venezuela remains as well — on its feet, dignified, rebellious, and victorious, and we should tell the United States, we want to improve relations in a relationship of respect, of mutual recognition, in a relationship of the future,” Maduro urged.

As he did this week — and he did following Trump’s victory in 2016 — Maduro urged Biden to seek unity with the socialist Venezuelan regime in November.

“Venezuela, the homeland of the Liberator Simón Bolívar will always be open to dialogue and understanding with the people and the government of the United States,” Maduro said at the time. “In time … we will work, hopefully, to resume decent, sincere, direct channels of dialogue between the future government of Joe Biden.”

Biden has not, at press time, publicly responded to Maduro’s overtures.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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