Venezuela Slams Zimbabwe Coup, Calls for `Respect' of Democracy

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela, whose critics have long pointed to Zimbabwe’s experience with hyperinflation as the bolivar collapsed, had tough words after the African country’s military seized power and detained 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe.

“Venezuela energetically condemns the rupture of the constitutional order in the Republic of Zimbabwe by a sector of the military,” the country said in a statement tweeted by Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza. “The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela calls for the immediate restoration of the democratic institution and the respect for the Constitution.”

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, who has overseen the decimation of his own country’s currency, shares more with Mugabe than adding zeros to bank notes. Earlier this year, he became the fourth head of state to be sanctioned by the U.S. , joining only Mugabe, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. His -- and Venezuela’s -- kinship with Mugabe also goes back years.

Venezuela, which is flirting with hyperinflation as one U.S. dollar now fetches more than 60,000 bolivars on the black market compared to an official rate of only 10, may not only be watching what happens in Zimbabwe, which eventually had to ditch its own currency, for economy lessons. As Maduro faces questions about his own democratic legitimacy and accusations of dictatorship, he’ll have a keen interest in watching how the world reacts to events there.

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