Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro has hit back against the United States and President Donald Trump, describing Venezuela as a “free, democratic country” whose people would “never accept” a dictator.
“In Washington, they should know that they can talk with us and that the schemes of cold war politics are obsolete, demeaning and unsuccessful,” Maduro said.
“Venezuela is not a communist country, comparable to Eastern Europe of the 1980’s. Venezuela is a democratic, free country, with its own socialist model, but one made for the 21st century,” he continued. “I am not a dictator. The Venezuelan people would not accept that. I am a humble, working-class man. I am not a businessman … I am a fighter that would give his life for his country.”
During the speech, Maduro also took aim at social networks such as Facebook and Instagram and ordered his Vice President Tareck El Aissami to investigate who the heads of both networks are in Venezuela.
“They are using methods to reduce my following so fewer people see my videos,” he said. “I have a right to defend myself. This is a new war, and I denounce it.”
Maduro’s comments came after Sunday’s regional elections, in which his socialist party won a number of governor’s seats in what many have alleged was a fraudulent election.
“The voice of the Venezuelan people was not heard,” the State Department said on Monday. “Our previously stated concerns were unfortunately realized: lack of independent, credible international observers; lack of technical audit for the National Electoral Council’s (CNE) tabulation; last minute changes to polling station locations without public notice; manipulation of ballot layouts; and limited availability of voting machines in opposition neighborhoods.”
“As long as the Maduro regime conducts itself as an authoritarian dictatorship, we will work with members of the international community and bring the full weight of American economic and diplomatic power to bear in support of the Venezuelan people as they seek to restore their democracy,” it continued.
In July, the Maduro regime was also accused of doctoring the results of a poll to elect members of the “national constituent assembly,” an illegal parallel legislature comprised solely of supporters of the Maduro regime, effectively rendering the country a dictatorship.
Since that election, the White House has sought to exert pressure on the regime through a number of sanctions, including a ban on Americans from dealing in Venezuelan government debt or that of its state-run oil company, as well as personal sanctions placed against Maduro and other government officials.
In a speech at the United Nations last month, Trump blasted both Maduro’s authoritarianism and the socialist that has led Venezuela into the worst humanitarian crisis in its history.
“The socialist Maduro regime has brought a once thriving nation to the brink of total collapse,” Trump said. “This dictatorship has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country. This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation, by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. ”
“The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented,” he added.