Venezuela Crisis: Trump's Goverment "Gang Of Extremists"- Maduro
Nicolas Maduro

Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro has tagged the United State government led by President Donald Trump a “gang of extremists”  who caused the crisis the country is facing.

Mr Maduro said he would not allow humanitarian aid into Venezuela as it was a way for the US to justify an intervention.

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“They are warmongering in order to take over Venezuela,” he said.

The US and most Western governments have recognised opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president.

Mr Maduro is under growing internal and international pressure to call early presidential elections amid a worsening economic crisis and accusations of widespread corruption and human rights violations.

Meanwhile, Mr Guaidó has called for new anti-government protests later on Tuesday.

Relations between the US and Venezuela were already fraught before President Trump backed Mr Guaidó as a leader. Venezuela broke off diplomatic relations in response while Mr Trump said the use of military force remained “an option”.

The Trump administration was one of the first to support Mr Guaidó as interim president and declared Mr Maduro’s re-election last year “illegitimate”.

In a rare interview, Mr Maduro said he hoped “this extremist group in the White House is defeated by powerful world-wide public opinion”.

Speaking in the capital Caracas, he told the BBC’s Orla Guerin: “It’s a political war, of the United States empire, of the interests of the extreme right, that today is governing, of the Ku Klux Klan, that rules the White House, to take over Venezuela.”

The US has also imposed a raft of economic measures on Venezuela, including against the state-owned oil company, PDVSA, aiming to hit the country’s main source of revenue.

It has criticised Mr Maduro’s increased use of the courts and security forces to suppress political opposition.

When asked, in response to his Ku Klux Klan comment, if he believed Mr Trump was a “white supremacist”, Mr Maduro said: “He is, publicly and openly… They hate us, they belittle us, because they only believe in their own interests, and in the interests of the United States.”

The president has rejected allowing foreign humanitarian aid into the country, a move that is being organised by the opposition. He said Venezuela had “the capacity to satisfy all the needs of its people” and did not have to “beg from anyone”.

But for years Venezuelans have faced severe shortages of basic items such as medicine and food. Last year, the inflation rate saw prices doubling every 19 days on average.