NICOLAS MADURO branded U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence a “crazy extremist” today after Washington accused the Venezuelan president of funding the migrant caravan which has been blocked from entering the U.S.
Caracas blasted claims of a “Venezuelan plot,” warning they could be used as the pretext for U.S. military intervention against the country.
Speaking from the Oval Office alongside US President Donald Trump, Mr Pence claimed he had spoken to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez who told him the caravan was sponsored by “leftist groups” and funded by Venezuela.
Earlier this week Mr Trump claimed that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners” were known to be part of the caravan. He later admitted he had no proof, saying “there very well could be.”
His comments were seen by many to be an attempt to raise fears of terrorism amid growing criticism of Washington’s response to a humanitarian crisis that is unfolding as thousands flee violence and poverty in Honduras.
More than 10,000 people have made their way across Central America suffering violent attacks from authorities who tear-gassed them in Guatemala and sprayed them with insecticide in Mexico.
Mr Trump has threatened to cut aid to those countries who facilitate the migrant caravan and warned of plans to deploy the military to stop the refugees from entering the U.S.
Mr Maduro refuted the claims as “imperialist paranoia” during a state broadcast on Wednesday and warned that it was part of a U.S. campaign to justify military intervention in Venezuela.
He said it would be something he could laugh at if “it had not been an extremist saying it, an extremist madman like Mike Pence.
“And they are capable of doing anything in the world, I warn the world about the paranoia of Mike Pence and the extremist sectors of the United States government against Venezuela.
“He has an obsession because they have not been able to defeat us, they have not been able to make us surrender, nor will they ever be able to do it,” the Bolivarian leader blasted.
Honduras descended into violence and chaos following a U.S.-backed coup in 2009 which deposed president Manuel Zelaya.
Association Without Borders spokesman Alex Mensing said: “The idea that someone can pay 10,000 people to convince them to leave their country and their homes [is ridiculous].”
He said the migrant caravan was a response to “a humanitarian crisis that has been coming for many years.”