By Carlos Camacho
CARACAS -- Venezuela’s embattled head of state, Nicolas Maduro, said Tuesday he was going to emerge as the victor in the 2018 Presidential elections.
“There will be elections and we will win, you can write it down,” Maduro told foreign and domestic media representatives Tuesday.
Maduro accompanied his predictions with jabs at U.S. President Donald Trump: “Not even if Trump shows up dressed as a Marine will the elections be stopped," exclaimed Maduro. "Not even if Trump invades Venezuela!”
Later -- apparently forgetting that he had just mocked Trump -- Maduro said he wanted “a relationship of respect” with Trump, a man who over the last two weeks has called Maduro a dictator, hinted at invading Venezuela and included the Venezuelan in the short, short list of heads of state ever sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury as Specially Designated Nationals -- comprised of only six Presidents in the last 200 years, two of which are dead.
Later Maduro said, again, that he wanted to speak on the phone with Trump, who has famously rebuked Maduro's calls and said he would only talk to the President of a Venezuela where democracy has been restored. “You need to be brave to talk,” he said in what seemed to be yet another jab at Trump, only to add later: “Maybe I will send him a letter!”
Maduro over the weekend said, in a TV interview with longtime supporter Jose Vicente Rangel, that he was trying to tame his “burlesque” sense of humor, which he called in Spanish “sentido del humor burlistico” -- a good example of the malapropisms that seem to plague Maduro's speeches.
A Trump-worthy impasse between journalists and security personnel arose during Maduro’s broadcast, with bodyguards demanding some media cease broadcasting Maduro’s speech live using smartphones, tablets and similar, smaller, devices. “Only state television!” one security personnel was heard shouting to journalists. Some media representatives abandoned Miraflores in disgust, including international news service Reuters.