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May 20, 2017 | Uhuruspirit

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Friday urged US President Donald Trump to "get your dirty hands off Venezuela."

"Go home Donald Trump," Maduro said in a speech broadcast on TV.

At a press conference after a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at the White House on Thursday, Trump had called recent developments in Venezuela "a disgrace to humanity," noting that the country at one time was one of the wealthiest countries in South America.

Maduro accused his opponents of being "sheep" and of being "puppets (of) the nefarious government that presides over the United States."

Maduro's statements come one day after the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions against eight members of Venezuela's Supreme Court of Justice for rulings that the US said "usurped the authority of Venezuela's democratically-elected legislature."

As a result of the sanctions all of the designated individuals' assets within US jurisdiction are frozen, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them, according to the US Treasury Department.

Maduro had initially urged the world to give Trump a chance after he was elected in November but his government unleashed its strongest condemnation to date of the Republican president.

"President Trump's aggressions against the Venezuelan people, its government and its institutions have surpassed all limits," said a government statement that accused Washington of seeking to destabilize Venezuela and foment foreign intervention.

The statement also accused Washington of financing the Venezuelan opposition while ignoring problems at home like income inequality and rights violations.

"The extreme positions of a government just starting off only confirmed the discriminatory, racist, xenophobic, and genocidal nature of U.S. elites against humanity and its own people, which has now been heightened by this new administration which asserts white Anglo-Saxon supremacy," the statement said.

A senior U.S. official warned of further action against "bad actors" if there are no changes in Venezuela. But sanctions so far have stopped short of hitting the country's oil sector, which is a major U.S. oil supplier.

Scores have been killed by both the police and protesters in a wave of right-wing protests that are aimed to overthrow Maduro's government.

- with dpa/reuters

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