Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez reportedly called President Barack Obama "a clown" and "an embarrassment" Monday, following strong comments from Obama in a written interview with Caracas newspaper El Universal, the Guardian reported.
"Focus on governing your country, which you've turned into a disaster," Chavez told state television Monday, in reference to Obama.
In the interview with El Universal, Obama said he is concerned about actions the Venezuelan government has taken that have "restricted the universal rights of the Venezuelan people, threatened basic democratic values and failed to contribute to the security in the region," according to the Guardian's report on the Spanish language interview.
He also criticized Venezuela's relationship with Iran and Cuba, saying, "it seems to me that the ties between Venezuela's government and Iran and Cuba have not served the interests of Venezuela and its people."
Referring to Iran, Obama said: "Sooner or later, Venezuela's people will have to decide what possible advantage there is in having relations with a country that violates fundamental human rights and is isolated from most of the world."
"Mr. Obama decided to attack us," Chavez said in response to Obama's words, according to the Guardian. "Now you want to win votes by attacking Venezuela. Don't be irresponsible. You are a clown, a clown. Leave us in peace….Go after your votes by fulfilling that which you promised your people."
Chavez's remarks show he's apparently had change of heart with regard to Obama: A year ago, he invited him to Venezuela to "sit down to talk, to eat socialist arepas," a popular corn-based pancake.
This is not the first time Chavez has spoken in insulting terms about a U.S. president: In 2006, he referred to then-President George W. Bush as "the devil" during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.
"The devil came here yesterday," Chavez said when he addressed the U.N., referring to Bush, who had spoken the day before. "And it smells of sulfur still today."