‘We’ve Had 20 Years of Poverty’: Video That Upset Maduro Says He’s ‘Worthless President’

By Kimberly Hayek

Video Univision News anchor Jorge Ramos was detained, along with his news crew, and equipment confiscated after he showed a video to Venezuela’s socialist dictator, Nicolás Maduro, during an interview.

The video shows a man digging through garbage saying “I want him to leave the country because he is worthless,” and “we’ve had 20 years of poverty,” according to a Feb. 25 tweet by Univision anchor, Enrique Acevedo.

“These are the images that @jorgeramosnews showed Nicolás Maduro and that caused Maduro to get up from the interview, to detain the Univision team and confiscate their work,” Acevedo wrote on Twitter on Feb. 25. “This is what Maduro does not want the world to see.”

The video shows several men digging through the back of a garbage truck searching for food near the Presidential Palace in Caracas, Venezuela. Ramos said in a video posted to Facebook that he’d shot that video the week before.

In the video, the men say that they are eating from the dumpster truck because they are hungry. “We have to change this President because we can’t live like this.”

“It’s the first time in my life that I eat garbage, from the garbage—first time in my life,” the man, who said his name is Jesus, told the television network. “We cannot go on like this, this is one thing that we cannot continue doing.”

The men said they rummage through the garbage every day for food, “because right now, one wage can’t afford anything.”

“Maduro, remember that Venezuela is beautiful, we are all Venezuela,” he said when asked what he would like to say to Maduro. “President, excuse me, but you as President, are worthless.”

“I want him to leave the country because he is worthless,” he said. “We’ve had 20 years of poverty.”

Maduro, who gained power over the oil-rich nation in 2013, is now in the second term of a presidency won through illegitimate means. Socialist policies introduced by Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, have crippled Venezuela in less than two decades. Food and medicine shortages, hyperinflation, and violent crime have driven more than 3 million Venezuelans out of the country, according to the UNHCR refugee agency.

Ramos said that the socialist dictator did not like the questions he was asking, but that it was the video he showed him on his iPad that upset him enough to stop the interview about 17 minutes in.

“I showed him a video that I personally took last Sunday of three kids behind a trash truck looking for food and he just couldn’t stand it. He didn’t want to continue the interview, he tried to close my iPad where I showed him the video, and then he said the interview was over.”

#ATTENTION. This is the latest from Jorge Ramos. He wanted you to hear the latest of what is going on from Venezuela after speaking with Nicolás Maduro.

Posted by Jorge Ramos on Monday, 25 February 2019

According to Daniel Coronell, chief news and digital officer, the press team were then detained for approximately two hours in Miraflores Palace by Maduro loyalists.

The team of six has since been released. However, the network said that the team’s technical equipment had all been confiscated by Maduro’s people, including their cell phones and memory cards.

Maduro’s regime has still not returned the network’s equipment, according to Ramos. Ramos said his cell phone was returned—with everything deleted—on Feb. 26, but not his other colleagues.

It’s Wednesday and the regime of @NicolasMaduro has not returned our cameras, the video cards with our interview -yes, it is ours not yours- nor the cellphones of all of my colleagues at Univision,” he wrote Feb. 27. “And to my friends, patience; I’m changing cell phone and number.”

Vice President Mike Pence reaffirmed the full support of the United States for interim Venezuelan President Juan Guaidó and his government on Feb. 25 in Bogotá, Columbia, at an event for the Lima Group. Pence also denounced Maduro’s blocking of aid into Venezuela and announced new sanctions against him.

Vice President Mike Pence and Juan Guaidó, recognized by Washington and others as Venezuela’s interim president, take part in a meeting with foreign ministers of the Lima Group at Colombia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry in Bogota, on Feb. 25, 2019. (Diana Sanchez/AFP/Getty Images)

The event was the first meeting for the Lima Group since a failed push to get U.S.-donated aid into Venezuela. Aid trucks were being pushed back and set on fire—widely reported to be done at the hands of pro-Maduro criminal groups.

Nearly 300 were injured over the weekend as individuals, who were attempting to deliver the aid, clashed with Venezuela’s National Guard and groups loyal to Maduro. Five people, including two who were indigenous to Venezuela’s southern limit with Brazil, were killed.

After Guaidó called for a minute’s silence for the five people who lost their lives in the aid initiative, Pence told the international press and presidents from across Latin America that it was “unconscionable that Maduro blocked hundreds of tonnes of aid from getting to his impoverished people,” and repeatedly denounced that the dictator “danced while trucks full of aid and medicine burned.”

Melanie Sun and Bowen Xiao contributed to this report.