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Venezuela slams Trump for ‘Cuban puppet’ remark

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Venezuela slammed U.S. President Donald Trump for remarks Tuesday that accused President Nicolas Maduro of being a "Cuban puppet."

"I think, in the first place that Trump is the puppet of imperialism, of capitalism. He response to money, to money accumulation, to capital accumulation," Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told reporters in New York."

"The real puppets" in the region are those presidents who failed in the 35-member Organization of American States (OAS) and then created the Lima Group -- a bloc of 12 Latin American nations working to find a solution to the crisis, said Arreaza.

Venezuela's relations with the OAS have been poor for a long time, since it withdrew in 2017.

"And they are failing again, they are the puppets of Donald Trump, they do what he wants," he added.

There is a mutual respect and friendship between Cuba and Venezuela, Arreaza said, and the two countries will continue to work together.

Trump, in his address to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, accused Maduro of being a "Cuban puppet," whom he said is hiding from his own people amid a U.S.-led effort to oust him from power.

The U.S. no longer recognizes Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela, instead throwing its weight behind opposition leader Juan Guaido whom it recognizes as the country's interim president.

"If [the U.S.] are not going to respect international law, it makes no sense that the UN headquarters are in New York," said the foreign minister.

"The dominant American elite must learn to respect Venezuela, the countries of Latin America and the peoples of the world"

Arreaza also claimed the U.S. tried to prevent the presence of the Maduro government at the General Assembly. "They are desperate," he said.

Trump unfolded his threats against Iran, China and Venezuela during his address to the Assembly by invigorating "illegal sanctions" against those nations, he said.

Washington's move earlier in August to freeze all assets of the Venezuelan government was a significant escalation of tensions with the South American nation.

The U.S. administration has been focusing on economic and diplomatic pressure against Maduro, including imposing sanctions against him, his top officials and several governmental departments as it seeks to increase pressure on Caracas.

Venezuela's economy has been in precipitous decline following a global downturn in the price of crude oil, the country's main export, while the ongoing political unrest also affects the country's financial stability.

Since the beginning of the year, Venezuela has been embroiled in political unrest as Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido engage in a power battle.

Nearly 5,000 people leave Venezuela every day because of "instability and uncertainty" amid a crisis focused on the presidency and economy, and 3 million Venezuelans have already left the country since 2015, according to the UN's refugee agency.

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