Caracas: Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro delivered his most scathing critique of US President Donald Trump, telling him to stop intervening and "get your pig hands out of here".
Speaking before a crowd of supporters on 19 May, a fired-up Maduro accused Trump of promoting an interventionist policy that infringes on his socialist government's sovereignty. "Go home, Donald Trump!" he said in a heavily accented English.
The remarks come a day after the Trump administration slapped sanctions against eight members of Venezuela's Supreme Court, accusing them of damaging the nation's democracy. A ruling by the court in late March stripping the opposition-controlled assembly of its remaining powers ignited a deadly wave of unrest.
While Venezuelan leaders have lashed out at US presidents frequently in the past, Maduro had largely been careful not to antagonise Trump. But Trump's repeated criticisms of the troubled South American nation appear to have struck a nerve.
Speaking alongside Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos on 18 May, Trump expressed dismay at Venezuela's crisis, asking how a country holding the nation's largest oil reserves could be stricken by so much poverty and turmoil. Trump described Venezuela's current state as a "disgrace to humanity".
Nearly two months of street protests throughout Venezuela have left at least 46 people dead.
Demonstrators are demanding new elections and blaming Maduro for the nation's triple-digit inflation, rising crimes, and vast food shortages.
Trump's comments and US sanctions against Venezuelan officials played to the government's longstanding accusations of US imperialism.
Published Date: May 20, 2017 11:24 AM | Updated Date: May 20, 2017 11:32 AM