Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza addressed the United Nations General Assembly Monday after dictator Nicolás Maduro claimed to be “busy” for the event, delivering a tirade against U.S. President Donald Trump and accusing America of being “the worst violator of human rights” worldwide.
Venezuela’s socialist dictatorship stands accused of a wide variety of human rights abuses including extreme police brutality and sex crimes against unarmed protesters, aiding drug trafficking, election fraud, and gross economic mismanagement that has led to mass food and medical shortages.
Arreaza did not discuss his own government’s crimes on the General Assembly stage, instead arguing in his remarks that the stage “has been defiled, disrespected, and offended time and time again by arrogant powers who seek to impose their rules of play unilaterally—rules of war, suffering, and pain.”
He made clear he was responding directly to President Donald Trump, referring to the president’s address last week as a “desecration”:
Like World Emperor, the President of the United States Donald Trump used this forum constructed for peace to announce wars, the total destruction of member states, [and] the application of coercive, unilateral, and illegal measures, threatening and judging at his leisure, as if he had absolute dictatorial powers over the sovereign member states of our organization.
He went on to compare Trump to Richard Nixon and Joseph McCarthy and claim America was “the worst violator of human rights, not just in its territory, but around the world.”
In Trump’s speech, the president vowed to stand with the starving Venezuelan people. “As a responsible neighbor and friend, we and all others have a goal. That goal is to help them regain their freedom, recover their country, and restore their democracy,” he asserted. Arreaza’s “total destruction” remark was a reference to Trump using that language against communist dictator Kim Jong-un of North Korea.
Arreaza went on to condemn Trump for withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, praise the communist dictatorship of Cuba, and extend greetings to “the heroic Syrian government.”
The United Nations published a summary of Arreaza’s speech emphasizing his condemnation of the Paris agreement withdrawal with the title, “In UN address, Venezuela decries effects of capitalism as enemy of Mother Nature.”
Venezuela’s state-run VTV published a story praising Arreaza’s tirade and claiming that other leaders of anti-American nations formed a line to greet and congratulate him for his remarks.
Arreaza is not the first in his government to refer to Trump as an “emperor” for defying the regime. “Mister imperator [sic] Trump, go home!” thundered Maduro in July, responding to America’s opposition to Maduro choosing to create a parallel legislature, the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), to usurp the powers of the democratically-elected National Assembly. He appeared to withdraw his insults in August, when he requested a personal meeting with Trump at the UN. After Washington rejected the offer, and following the U.S. Treasury sanctioning Maduro personally, banning him from U.S. territory, Arreaza told reporters Maduro was “very busy” and could not attend the General Assembly.
Maduro subsequently refused to appear before the UN Human Rights Council, of which both Venezuela and the United States are members. Arreaza will also appear there on his behalf.
Last week, the Trump administration announced that it would ban select Venezuelan socialist government officials from entering the country. While the socialist rhetoric in the country is heavily anti-American, high-ranking Venezuelan officials have turned Miami, Florida, into a frequent vacation spot, buying luxury homes and escaping when Venezuela’s food crisis has worsened. As Miami boasts a significant anti-leftist Venezuelan refugee community, the clash has resulted in masses of Venezuelan refugees confronting and publicly shaming Maduro officials in the city.