Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro took a dig at Barack Obama and said that President-elect Donald Trump could not be any worse than his predecessor. In what were his first comments on Trump – following his win in the November 2016 US election – the socialist leader opined that the billionaire was a victim of global "hate campaign".

Maduro refrained from criticising Trump, even as the latter – during his campaign – had slammed Venezuela's socialist party for "oppressing people".

"Let's wait and see what happens. Don't let's jump ahead of ourselves. I want to be prudent," Maduro told a news conference while speaking about Trump on Monday (16 January) in Caracas.

"He won't be worse than Obama, that's all I dare say. Obama has left the world plagued by terrorism. In Latin America, he will be remembered for three coups. International media have speculated about Donald Trump. We are surprised at the brutal hate campaign against Donald Trump in the whole world, in the western world," the Venezuelan president said.

Relations between the US and Venezuela had strained after the late Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999 and the South American country started blaming Washington for its economic woes.

Maduro had initially welcomed Obama's presidency, but disagreed over several measures taken by the US president, who went on to declare Venezuela a national security threat in March 2015. The executive order was extended for the second consecutive year on 13 January, but the government slammed the move terming it "hatred" towards Venezuelans.

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said that the extension constituted a "grave violation of international law".

Further, Maduro also criticised Obama's "imperialist" foreign policies and accused Washington of trying to change governments in Paraguay, Brazil and Honduras.

The US and Venezuela have not exchanged ambassadors for over five years.

Venezuela economy and Nicolas Maduro
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused outgoing US President Barack Obama of leaving the world plagued by terrorism Reuters