Venezuela Leader Thanks Hostile Donald Trump For Making Him 'Famous'

"It's an honor that the head of the empire mentions me every day," said the 54-year-old president, just back in Venezuela from a trip to Russia, Belarus and Turkey.

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Venezuela Leader Thanks Hostile Donald Trump For Making Him 'Famous'

On Trump's sanctions, Maduro hopes to move Venezuela's commercial transactions to euros, yen and rupees


Caracas:  Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro baited US President Donald Trump on Sunday by thanking him for a barrage of criticism that had made him famous worldwide.

"It's an honor that the head of the empire mentions me every day," said the 54-year-old president, just back in Venezuela from a trip to Russia, Belarus and Turkey.

"That means I'm doing something right!" President Maduro laughed, during his weekly program on state TV.

Saying Venezuela has become a corrupt and repressive dictatorship, the US government has widened individual sanctions on top officials including President Maduro and also prohibited new debt dealings with Caracas.

Businessman-turned-president Trump has repeatedly criticized President Maduro and his Socialist Party in public and at meetings with other heads of state.

"Donald Trump has become the head of the Venezuelan opposition," said President Maduro, who has ruled the OPEC member since 2013 but seen his popularity plummet during an economic crisis.

"He has made me famous around the world. Every time he mentions me, they love me more," President Maduro added, saying he had been acclaimed by people abroad on his visit to nations who have all had frayed relations with Washington.

President Maduro said he had a one-and-half hour meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin where, among other subjects, he discussed the possibility of trading Venezuelan oil in rubles because of the US financial sanctions.

"A whole new world is opening up for Venezuela thanks to President Trump's sanctions," said President Maduro, who has also said he hopes to move Venezuela's commercial transactions to euros, yen and rupees.

On October 15, President Maduro's government faces off with Venezuela's opposition in elections for state governors. President Maduro used his TV show to accuse foes of sabotaging public services during the campaign, including cutting electricity cables.

Appearing next to him on TV, Vice President Tareck el Aissami said that an opposition-linked activist had been arrested for an explosion that injured seven policemen during anti-Maduro protests earlier this year.

Venezuela's opposition says the government routinely frames activists by planting explosive materials, arms and money, and invents links between them and criminals, to justify political repression.

 
© Thomson Reuters 2017


(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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