Obama ‘caving to communist’: critic
the 2016 presidential campaign trail oppose it.
“This president has shown he is willing to do what nine previous presidents of both parties would not: cave to a communist dictator in our own hemisphere,” fumed U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a CubanAmerican Republican candidate.
Venezuela Tensions Surface
But as Obama sought to turn the page on Cold War-era tensions with Cuba, a spat with Venezuela also took the stage.
Maduro criticized Obama, but the U.S. leader had already left the room to head to a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
“I respect you, but I don’t trust you, President Obama,” Maduro said.
He urged Obama to lift sanctions against Venezuelan officials accused of committing human rights abuses.
The order has particularly
ir- ritated Maduro because it calls Caracas a U.S. national security threat.
After Maduro complained that Obama had ignored his pleas to hold talks since the Venezuelan leader was elected in 2013, it emerged that the two briefly spoke on the sidelines of the summit.
Obama “reiterated that our interest is not in threatening Venezuela, but in supporting democracy, stability and prosperity in Venezuela and the region,” said Katherine Vargas, a White House spokeswoman.
While Castro has taken Venezuela’s side in the dispute, he praised Obama for saying he did not really believe that Caracas posed a threat to the United States.
Maduro’s other leftist allies rallied behind him.
“Our people will never again accept tutelage, meddling and intervention,” said Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa.