The Cable

Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro Does Not Appreciate Comparisons to Donald Trump

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro hits back at opponents who compared him -- unfavorably -- to Donald Trump.

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As the American presidential primary season heats up, being compared to Donald Trump is quickly becoming a sure-fire way around the world to insult a politician.

According to a Reuters report Tuesday, opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro are using the Trump comparison to blast the president for closing border crossings and deploying the military to deport Colombians. They note this is a very similar strategy to the one the 2016 GOP frontrunner wants to employ along the U.S.-Mexico border, and against Mexicans living illegally in the United States.

Separately, a Greek economist has compared Trump to former Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras for his questionable strategy of dealing with Athens’s debt standoff with Europe. But Maduro is more of a ringer for Trump than Tsipras — even if the Venezuelan leader has decried the tycoon as a bandit, a thief, and mentally ill.

“Maduro criticizes Donald Trump, but his acts against Colombian immigration are worse than the magnate’s words,” Saverio Vivas, an opposition politician, told Reuters. On Monday, Juan Manuel Ramirez, writing for Colombia’s Portafolio, also made the unfavorable Trump/Maduro connection. Andres Pastrana, the former Colombian president and a Maduro critic, has called Maduro, who many accuse of being a dictator, the “Latin American Trump.”

The comparison has stuck so successfully that Maduro went on Colombian television Monday to defend himself against the charge.

“They’re saying Maduro is like Donald Trump! Imagine,” he said. “I don’t even have his hairstyle — and least of all his bank account.” He went on to blame Colombia for causing shortages of gasoline and other goods in Venezuela.

The Internet, as it is wont to do, is having a field day with the comparison. A number of memes have popped up on social media to poke fun at Maduro, and, somewhat creepily, depict him with some of Trump’s more distinguished features, and vice versa. Some of the best are below.

Trump, who spent the day in a spat with Fox News over yet another round of nasty comments directed to one of the network’s anchors, Megyn Kelly, has yet to comment on the comparison with Venezuela’s communist strongman.

Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

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