CARACAS - Venezuela's president on Wednesday blasted White House contenders Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, panning their weekend debate and warning either becoming the next U.S. president would be bad for Latin America.
"I have not seen a more miserable, more immoral debate in the United States' political history, which I've followed for 30 years," said Socialist Nicolas Maduro, during an event to mark "Indigenous Resistance Day" in Venezuela, a former Spanish colony.
"If half of what they told each other is true, neither of them can be president of the United States or any other country in the world," added Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader who had previously thrown his support behind former Clinton rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, calling him his "revolutionary friend."
Leftist-led Caracas has often clashed with Washington, frequently blaming its "imperialist" foe for the OPEC nation's deep economic crisis. The Democrat administration of Barack Obama has backed an opposition push for a recall referendum to remove unpopular Maduro.
Clinton and Trump, which polls show to be unpopular candidates, are vying to replace Obama in a Nov. 8 election.
"We can't expect anything good from either of them," said Maduro, wearing a red shirt and surrounded by a crowd of indigenous Venezuelans. "Neither Trump nor Clinton have any good wishes or interests for Venezuela or Latin America."
Venezuela's opposition said Maduro should tend to urgent domestic issues, like acute food shortages, triple-digit inflation, and one of the world's highest murder rates, instead of opining about other countries.
Some critics even likened Maduro to Trump last year after he closed border crossings and deported hundreds of Colombians, reminding his opponents of the U.S. tycoon's proposal to deport undocumented immigrants en masse and make Mexico pay for a wall separating it from the United States.
(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)