07:39 GMT13 May 2021
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    The Venezuelan army must be ready "to defend every inch of the territory," President Nicolas Maduro said after a verbal clash with Donald Trump and the introduction of new US travel restrictions.

    Meeting with the Venezuelan army's top brass during drills near the city of Maracay, Maduro urged the country's military to be on standby. 

    "We have been shamelessly threatened by the most criminal empire that ever existed and we have the obligation to prepare ourselves to guarantee peace," he said.

    Maduro added that Venezuela's army "needs to have rifles, missiles and well-oiled tanks at the ready" in order "to defend every inch of territory if needs be."

    He also referred to the "future of humanity" which he warned should not be "the world of illegal sanctions, of economic persecution."

    He spoke a few days after US President Donald Trump signed a decree which specifically stipulates a travel ban against an array of senior Venezuelan officials who Washington said pose a security threat to the United States.

    During his UN General Assembly address last Tuesday, Trump lashed out at what he described as Nicolas Maduro's "socialist dictatorship" in Venezuela.

    He said that the US calls for the "full restoration of democracy and freedom in Venezuela," but declined to elaborate.

    Maduro responded by slamming Trump's speech as "aggression from the new Hitler of international politics … against the people of Venezuela."

    He was echoed by Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza, who likened Trump's speech at the UN General Assembly to a declaration of war, pledging to take counter measures.

    Speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Monday, Arreaza said that Venezuela is open for dialogue with Washington but is poised to retaliate against any hostile actions "in the same field in which we are attacked."


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