Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro hailed the supposed entry this week of rap superstar Kanye West into this year’s presidential election as a challenger against President Donald Trump, failing to pronounce his name correctly on multiple occasions.
Maduro made the comments during a military graduation ceremony in Caracas on Wednesday where he appeared to show excitement at the prospect of West’s candidacy.
“On the first Tuesday of November, there will be presidential elections in the United States of America. Let’s see what happens.”
“An independent candidate, a rapper, Dainye Wets, has just launched his campaign,” he told the graduates. Someone off-screen appears to try to correct him, prompting him to repeat the incorrect pronunciation of West’s name several times.
“Ganieh Gues launched himself, let’s see what happens. We do not involve ourselves in the politics of the United States,” Maduro insisted, before threatening America once again that it will be destroyed if it invades Venezuela.
Maduro did not suggest any support or opposition to West, though he has publicly expressed extreme distaste for his opponents should he actually run, President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Maduro accused Biden of personally plotting his assassination in 2015, but has also met with him in what appeared to be a friendly exchange that year at the inauguration of socialist Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, a Maduro ally who was impeached out of office.
Despite their past meeting, Biden has pledged to “stand with the Venezuelan people and for democracy” and denounced him as a “dictator.” During the Obama presidency, he also oversaw the sanctioning of several Venezuelan officials for human rights abuses.
Trump talks tough on Venezuela, but admires thugs and dictators like Nicolas Maduro.
As President, I will stand with the Venezuelan people and for democracy. https://t.co/eUt28UxyXS
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 22, 2020
Under the Trump presidency, Maduro’s socialist regime has faced more stringent economic sanctions and the threat of military force.
Last week, West announced his intention to run as an independent candidate for the presidency, promising to “realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future.” However, he has yet to register with the Federal Election Commission, present a campaign platform, or collect enough signatures to get on the November ballot. He has also already missed the deadline to file as an independent candidate in six states.
We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States 🇺🇸! #2020VISION
— ye (@kanyewest) July 5, 2020
There is no indication that a President West, who has supported Trump in the past, would take a softer stance on the issue of Venezuela, which under the Maduro regime is facing the worst political, economic, and humanitarian crisis in its history.
Maduro’s failure to properly pronounce West’s name is the latest in a string of embarrassments for him regarding English language words and names. When the Trump administration and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos joined forces to remove him from power back in 2017, he tried out his English in an effort to urge the pair to disengage.
“Mister emperator [sic] of United States, mister vasallo [vassal] John Manny Santos, in Venezuela the constituent goo goo goo! [sic]” he declared at the time. “Mister Trump, go home!”
Last year, he was even the subject of ridicule from his own socialist allies when he made a similar speech barely comprehensible in Spanish demanding Trump stop interfering in his country’s affairs.
“Donald Trump, hand, offs, Venezuela!” Maduro said, prompting laughter from those in the audience, including Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza. “Interventionism in Venezuela? [again in English] Not that way, Donald Trump.”
Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, in an attempt to win him over as an ally, Maduro urged Trump, “open your hair.”