- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2014

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Saturday that racism appears to have worsened in the United States since President Obama took office.

“It’s really dramatic,” the socialist leader said on TV network Telesur, calling the death of Eric Garner in New York City particularly “brutal,” Reuters reported.

“It’s as if racism has been exacerbated in the United States with the arrival of Obama himself,” Mr. Maduro said. “I’m sorry because to some extent, I respect Obama personally. But I think he’s a hostage of the real powers in the United States, and he decided not to fight. He’s tired, exhausted.”

Relations have been tense after the Obama administration criticized Venezuela for the February jailing of protest leader Leopoldo Lopez, and this week’s indictment of opposition leader Maria Corina Machado, Reuters reported.

Mr. Maduro called the criticism hypocritical and made an unspecified allegation against the U.S. embassy in Caracas, Reuters reported.

“They are behaving dangerously. The U.S. Embassy’s meddling is starting to become intolerable,” he said. “I’m evaluating relations.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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