CARACAS - Racism in the United States appears to have worsened during the administration of its first black leader, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said on Saturday.
Maduro, who has come under fire from President Barack Obama's government in recent weeks for his treatment of domestic political foes, said he was appalled by recent cases of police killings of blacks in the United States.
"It's really dramatic," he told TV network Telesur, highlighting the death of Eric Garner, who was caught on video gasping for breath in a policeman's stranglehold, as particularly "brutal." "It's as if racism has been exacerbated in the United States with the arrival of Obama himself," said Maduro, the socialist leader who succeeded Hugo Chavez last year.
"I'm sorry because to some extent, I respect Obama personally. But I think he's a hostage of the real powers in the United States, and he decided not to fight. He's tired, exhausted," Maduro said.