By Guy Bentley – Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolas Maduro has launched a fresh tirade against America’s alleged imperialism, blaming the U.S. for the refugee crisis unfolding in Europe.
Speaking to Russia Today, Maduro blamed U.S. foreign policy for the waves of desperate refugees trying to make it to safety in Europe and away from the swathes of war-torn territory in the Middle East from Syria to Libya.
“It is Europe that has to deal with the disaster caused by the U.S., because it is Europe that is now taking in thousands of migrants and they don’t know how to cope with this situation,”Maduro told the Russian state broadcaster. (RELATED: Cheney: It’s Obama’s Fault For European Refugee Crisis)
“By deception, they invaded the country [Iraq] that is a cradle of civilization – and razed it the ground. Now is it literally split into thousands parts and engulfed by terrorism in its cruelest form,” he added. Venezuela has pledged to give asylum to 20,000 Syrian refugees (RELATED: France To Take 24,000 Migrants Under EU Refugee Plan)
In Maduro’s eyes, there are few problems in the modern world that cannot be traced back to the U.S. “The U.S. has caused a real disaster, chaos and now it wants to cause chaos in other regions of the world,” he said.
Venezuela, however, has a border crisis of its own. Maduro has initiated a huge anti-smuggling crackdown along the country’s border with Colombia. The Associated Press reports that over the last two weeks Venezuela has closed six border crossings and deported more than 1,000 Colombians.
Many thousands more Colombians have left Venezuela voluntarily amid the country’s deepening economic crisis and severe shortages of food and fuel. The black market has expanded sharply over the past two years with smugglers buying subsidised goods in Venezuela and reselling them in Colombia for a hefty profit.
In 2014, the situation became so dire that Maduro posted 17,000 troops on the Colombian border and closed crossings at night. The Economist estimated that as much as 40 percent of Venezuela’s subsidized goods are smuggled.