What would Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro say to President Donald Trump if he had him in front of him?
“You are making mistakes that will leave your hands covered in blood and you will leave the presidency stained with blood,” Maduro told journalist Jordi Évole in a combative television interview Sunday on the show "Salvados" from Spain's laSexta network. “Why would you want a repeat of Vietnam?”
Maduro’s remarks came after Trump said that "all options are on the table" when it comes to dealing with Venezuela’s political unrest, including U.S. military intervention.
In an interview Monday with Sky, Maduro said he does not foresee a war in his country. But he did criticize Trump's previous statements.
"There is a threat. I can't say that there is risk, but there is a threat that started in August 2018. It was the first time Trump spoke about a military intervention in Venezuela," he said.
Venezuela’s crisis took another turn Monday as key European Union countries endorsed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s interim president, adding pressure on Maduro to resign and let the country hold new presidential elections.
“I don’t accept ultimatums from anybody,” Maduro told Évole. “Why should the EU be giving ultimatums to a country?”
He added that Venezuela is being “threatened by the biggest powers in the world,” referring to countries such as Spain, Germany, France and Britain, among others.
Maduro has shown no signs of caving and was defiant in the interview with Évole, accusing the United States of preparing for a coup against his government. The Trump administration has supported Guaidó, demanded Maduro’s departure and imposed sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports.
When asked what message would he send to Guaidó and the millions of Venezuelans who have fled the country, Maduro told Sky that he "wouldn't send a message directly to Guaidó" and "to the Venezuelans, I say welcome back to your country."
But Maduro did have a message for opposition leaders, "that we sit down together with an open agenda to have dialogue, to create politics with a capital P."
He added that Venezuela has activated a plan called 'Vuelta a la Patria,' or 'Return to the Homeland,' to get Venezuelans to come back to the country.
"We have returned more than 12,000 by plane and we have a list of another 5,000 coming back," he said.
Venezuelans have been protesting in Caracas, the capital, as well as in over 70 cities around the world, including Athens, Greece; Beirut; Frankfurt, Germany; Madrid; Melbourne, Australia; Miami and Milan — hoping to push Maduro out of office.
In an interview Sunday with CBS' "Face the Nation," Trump said: “Many really horrible things have been happening in Venezuela when you look at that country. That was the wealthiest country of all in that part of the world. Now, you look at the poverty and you look at the anguish and you look at the crime and you look at all of the things happening. So, I think the process is playing out — very, very big tremendous protests.”
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