Hugo Chávez blasted President Barack Obama as a “clown” and an “embarrassment” who has turned the United States into a “disaster” after Obama criticized Venezuela’s ties with Iran and Cuba, according to a report Tuesday.
Chávez’s comments came in the wake of Obama’s Monday written interview with the Caracas paper El Universal, where the U.S. president questioned Venezuela’s connections to those countries. Chávez hit back strongly at Obama on state TV Monday, according to The Guardian, saying the president gave the interview only to “win votes” in the 2012 election.
“Mr. Obama decided to attack us,” Chávez said. “Now you want to win votes by attacking Venezuela. Don’t be irresponsible. You are a clown, a clown. Leave us in peace … Go after your votes by fulfilling that which you promised your people.”
“Focus on governing your country, which you’ve turned into a disaster,” Chávez said, according to The Guardian.
Chávez’s comments were prompted by Obama’s response to an El Universal question about what the U.S. government thinks of Venezuela’s ties to Iran and Cuba. Obama told the paper, “It seems to me that the ties between Venezuela’s government and Iran and Cuba have not served the interests of Venezuela and its people.”
“We are concerned about the government’s actions, which have restricted the universal rights of the Venezuelan people, threatened basic democratic values and failed to contribute to the security in the region,” Obama said, according to The Guardian.
Referencing Iran, Obama wrote, “Sooner or later, Venezuela’s people will have to decide what possible advantage there is in having relations with a country that violates fundamental human rights and is isolated from most of the world.”
On Tuesday, Chávez landed in Uruguay for a summit of South America’s trade bloc, Mercosur. This is the Venezuelan president’s first trip abroad since he was diagnosed with cancer.
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