People in Venezuela are running out of toilet paper, sugar, medicine and cash — unless, of course, you’re the son of Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro.
A YouTube video showing Nicolas Ernesto Maduro Guerra, named after his father, being showered in American cash during the wedding of an elite business owner has outraged a nation that seemingly doesn’t have dollar bills to spare.
The video, published by VVperiodistas, was allegedly taken on March 14th at the wedding of Jose Zalt, a Syrian-Venezuelan businessman at the luxurious Gran Melia Hotel in Caracas. The Zalt family owns the Wintex clothing brand. The wedding reportedly took place after a state military parade meant to show off the country’s prowess and defy the United States. The U.S. declared Venezuela a threat to its national security just a few days before.
While throwing money over the bride and groom is customary in some Arab weddings, the video, which has been viewed more than 800,000 times as of Thursday evening, is drawing the ire of many on social media maddened by what they perceive as the hypocrisy of Maduro’s socialist regime. President Maduro’s regime continues to maintain its stern criticism of capitalism – blaming U.S. imperialism for the country’s current worsening economic crisis.
Since posting the video, the group VV periodistas, reportedly a group of journalists that stands against Maduro’s regime and censorship practices, received a message from YouTube to take down the video due to a privacy complaint.
Maduro Guerra is not just the son of a former bus driver turned authoritarian ruler — he also holds three public offices. Maduro has appointed his son to chief of the Special Inspectors Body of the Presidency, the head of the National Film School of Venezuela, as well as a position as a legislator in the National Assembly as a member of the country’s socialist party.
The U.S. and Venezuela have been at odds over the South American nation's jailing of opposition leaders, using violence to quell protests and Maduro's claim that the U.S. is attempting to destabilize his regime.
The tensions have culminated in recent weeks in a back-and-forth of bluster, punitive sanctions and orders to reduce diplomatic staff.
On March 17, Maduro published an open letter on The New York Times saying that Venezuelan “live in a region of peace, free of weapons of mass destruction ... Immigrants from around the world, live among us, whose diversity is respected."
After accusing President Barack Obama of taking a "unilateral and aggressive measure" by imposing sanctions on people in Maduro's administration believed to have taken part in human-rights abuses, the Venezuelan president demands that "the U.S. government immediately cease hostile actions against Venezuelan people and democracy" and "retract its libelous and defamatory statements and actions against the honorable Venezuelan officials who have just obeyed our laws and our constitution."