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Maduro to Trump: 'Get your pig hands out of here'

David Martin AP, Reuters, efe, kpa
May 20, 2017

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused US President Donald Trump of meddling in the crisis-stricken country. The US this week imposed fresh sanctions on eight of Venezuela's Supreme Court justices.

Venezuela Präsident Nicolas Maduro
President Nicolas Maduro objected strongly to US sanctions on Venezuelan judgesImage: picture alliance/dpa/P. Miraflores

Venezuela's fired-up president, Nicolas Maduro, launched a scathing attack on the US and Trump administration on Friday, accusing the US of trying to intervene in his socialist government's sovereignty.

Speaking before a crowd of supporters, Maduro told US President Donald Trump to "go home" and "get your pig hands out of here."

Read more: Venezuela's crisis takes a toll on education

Maduro's remarks came after Trump, speaking alongside his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos, on Thursday openly expressed his dismay at how a country with the world's greatest oil reserves could find itself engulfed in deep recession and political upheaval. Trump described Venezuela's current state as a "disgrace to humanity."

Follow the Hashtag: Venezuelans are taking to the streets demanding #NoMasDictadura

Also on Thursday, the US Treasury Department slapped fresh sanctions on eight judges on Venezuela's Supreme Courtand close allies of Maduro. The US said the justices "usurped the authority of Venezuela's democratically-elected legislature."

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said the sanctions proved the US was complicit in "the destabilization of Venezuela."

Near-daily clashes

Venezuela has been engulfed in near-daily violent protests for almost two months. Clashes have so far left at least 47 people dead, after prosecutors on Friday raised the earlier death toll of 43. Hundreds more have been injured.

Read more: Venezuela sees a sharp rise in child mortalities

The demonstrations were spurred by a decision by Venezuela's Supreme Court to strip the opposition-controlled legislative branch of its powers. Maduro's detractors saw the decision as a blatant power grab by the president and his allies. Although Maduro later reversed the decision, protests have continued in response to the country's desperate economic situation and depleting supply of basic goods, such as food and medicine.

Venezuela braces itself for 'biggest protest yet'

Venezuela's opposition said it planned to stage the biggest protest yet on Saturday to mark the 50th day ofanti-government demonstrations.

"On day 50 of the resistance we will make the biggest show of strength so far in this period," Juan Andres Mejia, a lawmaker leading the demonstrations, said. The new rallies would "show those who think they have made us retreat that we are more active than ever," he added.

Vatican offers to mediate

Officials in the Vatican said on Friday that they hoped the opportunity would arise for the Catholic Church state to mediate talks between the government and opposition to put an end to the violence.

Speaking to Radio Vatican on Friday, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said the bloodshed and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela could be solved by elections. People must be given the chance to vote on their "present and future," he said. "The current situation is alarming, and there's a risk that it will only get worse."

Last month, Pope Francis also proposed that the Vatican mediate in the crisis, but stressed that "very clear conditions" would be necessary.

My picture of the week | Music against violence in Caracas