Mon, Dec 08, 2014 - Page 7 News List

Venezuela’s Maduro criticizes Obama’s race record

Reuters, CARACAS

Racism in the US appears to have worsened during the administration of its first black leader, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Saturday.

Maduro, who has come under fire from US President Barack Obama’s administration in recent weeks for his treatment of domestic political foes, said he was appalled by recent cases of police killings of black people in the US.

“It’s really dramatic,” he told TV network Telesur, highlighting the death of Eric Garner, who was caught on video gasping for breath in a policeman’s stranglehold, as particularly “brutal.”

“It’s as if racism has been exacerbated in the United States with the arrival of Obama himself,” Maduro said.

“I’m sorry because to some extent, I respect Obama personally, but I think he’s a hostage of the real powers in the United States, and he decided not to fight. He’s tired, exhausted,” Maduro said.

In a continuation of the fractious relationship between the US and Venezuela in evidence since former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez took power in 1999, Obama officials have criticized this year’s jailing of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez in February, and last week’s indictment of another opposition figurehead, Maria Corina Machado, accused of plotting to kill Maduro.

Marduro said that was hypocritical, and made an unspecified allegation against the US embassy in Caracas.

“They are behaving dangerously. The US embassy’s meddling is starting to become intolerable,” he said. “I’m evaluating relations.”

In the lengthy TV interview, Maduro also railed against international credit agencies for rating Venezuela as one of the most economically risky nations.

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