Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro has condemned comments made by American presidential candidate Donald Trump after the celebrity real estate mogul and reality-show host blamed Mexico for many of the United States’ problems in his campaign announcement.
“He’s a bandit, a thief,” Maduro said in a speech, describing Trump as a “pelucon,” referring to the long-haired aristocrats of Venezuela’s past. “He who messes with Mexico, messes with Venezuela,” he added, saying that the United States had exploited Mexico enough.
In a June 16 speech outlining the basis for his upcoming presidential campaign, Trump said of Mexico, “They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing their problems.”
“They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists,” he continued. “Some I assume are good people, but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting.”
Trump’s comments have been widely condemned both in and outside the United States. Mexico’s Minister of Government Miguel Angel Osorio Chong called the characterization “prejudiced and absurd.”
“There is no doubt that the men and women of Mexico who are [living] in the U.S. … help the development of the U.S.,” he said, speculating that Trump was just attempting to garner publicity.
Arturo Vargas, executive director for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in the U.S., told Forbes that Trump’s blustering attitude wasn’t suited for real politics, outside of the world of reality TV. “It appears Mr. Trump is having a difficult time separating fact from fiction. Developing a sound foreign policy with the United States’ most important trade partner and neighbor is not a reality TV show,” he wrote in an email.
While real estate itself is an important industry — Forbes has previously estimated that around 1.5 million new housing units need to be constructed each year in order to keep up with population growth — Trump is better known for flashy, ostentatious building projects, all branded with his name.
Indeed, the billionaire’s personal wealth appears to be a major basis for his campaign. “I’m using my own money,” he said, when explaining his campaign tactics. “I’m not using lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.”