Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has lambasted his American counterpart Donald Trump for slapping sanctions on him, saying the decision only shows "his desperation and hate".
The US Department of the Treasury slapped sanctions on Maduro earlier on Monday (31 July) in response to the controversial election that took place in the South American country a day earlier. The US government called the national vote a "sham".
Speaking to a televised gathering of supporters in the Venezuelan capital Caracas, Maduro said on Monday that he was not scared of Trump or his sanctions.
"Donald Trump took decisions against me as president of the republic. They are decisions which reflect his impotence, his desperation, his hate, the character of a magnate, the emperor of the United States of America," Maduro said, according to a translation by Reuters.
The socialist leader also lashed out at Peru, Colombia, Mexico and other Latin American countries – that have all criticised the National Assembly vote.
The crucial vote was called by Maduro to back his plan to rewrite the constitution and disbanding the opposition-controlled National Assembly. But the opposition boycotted the election, claiming it to be rigged in Maduro's favour.
"I don't deserve imperialist orders. I don't deserve orders from a foreign government, not now and not ever. Keep up your sanctions, Donald Trump!" Maduro said.
He also took a dig at Trump's presidential election victory.
"In the United States it's possible to become president with three million votes less than your opponent. What a tremendous democracy!" Maduro told his audience.
As per the sanctions, any of Maduro's assets that fall under US jurisdiction will be frozen, and it will be illegal for Americans to have any business dealings with him.
"By sanctioning Maduro, the United States makes clear our opposition to the policies of his regime and our support for the people of Venezuela who seek to return their country to a full and prosperous democracy," said Secretary of the Treasury Steven T Mnuchin.
Maduro is not just a "bad" leader but a "dictator" as well, White House National Security Adviser HR McMaster said.
While many of the Latin American nations sided with the US, Cuba reiterated its solidarity with the Venezuelan government and condemned the US sanctions. It said it supported Maduro's vote for a new legislative superbody.
"Cuba denounces the initiation of a well-orchestrated international operation, directed in Washington ... to silence the voice of the Venezuelan people," the government said in a statement published by state-run media.
"We know well these interventionist practices. They think that they will manage to achieve the submission of the people to a puppet opposition that they financed," it added.
Cuba had also come under a heavy US economic embargo after its 1959 revolution, which according to Havana, has cost the Caribbean island more than $100bn (£75.7bn).
Cuba and Venezuela have long been against US influence in the region as they became close allies in the late 1990s when the respective countries were ruled by the now-deceased Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.