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    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting with businessmen in Caracas, Venezuela January 9, 2017

    'Stalin of the Caribbean': Venezuelan President Says He Resembles Soviet Leader

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    Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro playfully joked that there is a resemblance between himself and late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

    Speaking to viewers in his weekly television program 'Sundays with Maduro' on VTV, Maduro quipped that "in the world there are people who think I'm a Caribbean Stalin. And I do look like him: look at the profile of my face."

    "Sometimes I look in the mirror and it seems to me that I look like Stalin," he added.

    At the same time, the president argued that the world leaders that criticize him for being too tough on the opposition use much tougher measures in their own countries. "[Spanish Prime Minister Mariano] Rajoy has deployed police to Catalonia to detain 700 mayors. Does he act like a dictator? [Who is the dictator] Maduro, who lets the opposition hold a plebicite, or Rajoy, who does not want Catalonia to have a say?" he asked.

    Venezuela held elections to its Constituent Assembly this summer. Opposition forces boycotted the elections and refused to recognize their outcome or the Constituent Assembly's legitimacy. The country has been in turmoil since April, facing months of opposition protests over the economic situation, and 'expressions of concern' from the international community over the political situation.

    Last month, Washington imposed new economic sanctions against Caracas, calling its leadership the "illegitimate Maduro dictatorship." The sanctions include restrictions on the purchase of new securities issued by the government or its state oil company, PDVSA, and came on the heels of new personal sanctions against top Venezuelan officials.

    On Friday, President Maduro said that Venezuela had dropped the US dollar from its oil pricing and began listing its prices in Chinese yuan in a bid to counter US sanctions. Chinese oil industry analysts believe it is unlikely that the US will impose a complete ban on Venezuelan oil. Venezuela is the third largest supplier of crude oil to the United States, accounting for 8 percent of total US imports in 2016. The country is also the 11th largest oil exporter in the world.

    Tags:
    resemblance, Josef Stalin, Nicolas Maduro, Soviet Union, Venezuela
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