Trump 'acted like the world's emperor' at UN, says Venezuela

US President Donald Trump acted like "the world's emperor" at the UN General Assembly, Venezuela's top diplomat said.

Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza's speech at the assembly came a day after Mr Trump signed a travel ban affecting some Venezuelan officials, and nearly a week after he denounced turmoil-racked Venezuela's "corrupt regime" in his own address to the UN.

"As if he were the world's emperor, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, used this podium built for peace to announce wars, total destruction of member states" and "coercive measures, threatening and judging as if he had absolute, dictatorial powers over the sovereign member states of our organisation," Mr Arreaza said.

Mr Trump had threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if forced to defend the US or its allies.

Invoking former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's famous quip that the podium "smells like sulphur" after then-US President George W Bush addressed the assembly in 2006, Mr Arreaza said: "It's still valid."

Venezuela's foreign ministry denounced the travel restrictions as a form of "political and psychological terrorism".

Mr Arreaza said at a news conference that it's "an unfounded strategy to soften the public opinion and to try to make a case against Venezuela".

He said his country is "looking for dialogue" with and channels to the Trump administration.

"For the moment, it has not been possible, but the will is there," Mr Arreaza said. "But, I insist, if they attack us in whatever area, we will respond strongly in defence of our homeland, of our people."

Venezuela's government has faced international criticism since the country's Supreme Court gutted the opposition-controlled congress in March. The ruling was later reversed.

Recently, a new constitutional assembly composed entirely of government loyalists has gone after Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro's political opponents. Several opposition mayors and leaders have been jailed.

Mr Trump's administration slapped sweeping economic sanctions on Venezuela last month, and the president said he would not rule out US military action against the country.

Last week, Mr Trump devoted as much of his debut General Assembly speech to excoriating Venezuela as he did to North Korea, Syria and Iran.

"This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation by imposing a failed ideology," he said of the socialist country.

He added that the US was "prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule".

Mr Maduro responded last week from Caracas by calling Mr Trump "the new Hitler" of international politics.

AP


 

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