Venezuela’s leaders mocked Colombia’s elections on Monday, with authoritarian President Nicolas Maduro calling them a “comedy program.”
In a public address, Maduro called the elections “fraudulent” and “medieval,” and said Colombia needs a system like Venezuela’s “with guarantees, security, technology, and of a high level.”
Venezuela refused access to foreign observers and news media during its most recent votes, but that did not stop the country’s president from criticizing the neighbors’ vote.
He has asked the United Nations to monitor presidential elections in his country in May.
“One sees Colombia’s electoral system; it’s embarrassing. The widespread scream yesterday in Colombia was fraud… of all the candidates, right, left, center-right, all the candidates shouted fraud, it’s an incredible thing, 70% abstention,” Maduro said on television.
Colombia’s election authority said abstention was a bit more than 51%.
The Venezuelan president went on to ridicule the scarcity of ballots for inter-party leadership voting.
“Venezuela is in the 21st century of electoral systems and guarantees, and Colombia is in the 14th century, during the Middle Ages, because the oligarchy is in favor of a medieval system to cheat, to impose its candidates,” Maduro said.
Maduro and Vice President Diosdado Cabello also mocked Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos.
“Come to Venezuela so you can see how elections are being held,” said Cabello.
“It sounds like a comedy show, Colombia, and they’re coming to tell us that they’re demanding guarantees. Santos, you are vulgar. You have no shame, buddy,” Maduro said.
The Maduro administration has been widely accused of election fraud since taking office in 2013.
Last year the firm Smartmatic, who managed Venezuela’s electronic voting system for 13 years, broke partnership with Venezuela after they said the government tampered with votes during the 2017 election of the National Constituent Assembly.
The firm estimated the “difference between the actual participation and the one announced by authorities is at least one million votes.” The company said that the election was not audited properly because not all political parties participated.
The opposition in Venezuela has called Maduro’s regime a dictatorship for creating a parallel Constituent Assembly that sidelined the National Assembly that is controlled by anti-Maduro forces.
The Venezuelan authorities are also accused of the wrongful imprisonment of hundreds of opposition leaders.