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Venezuela's ambassador says UN chief's remark that country is in crisis is 'strange'

Venezuela's U.N. ambassador, Rafael Ramirez (left), and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (Photos: Getty Images)

Venezuela's U.N. ambassador, Rafael Ramirez (left), and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (Photos: Getty Images)

The Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations says he has no idea where the organization’s Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, is getting his information about the South American country.

"I do not know where he gets these figures and assertions," Ambassador Rafael Ramirez told a Caracas television station, Televen, over the weekend in reference to Ban’s recent comments to Argentinian reporters saying there was a “humanitarian crisis” taking place in Venezuela.

"We have problems here, but it's nowhere near a humanitarian crisis," Ramirez said, according to a UPI report, adding that Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro will speak with the secretary general during a September summit in Caracas. He added that not only was Ban "wrong," but that it was "strange" that he would make such a mistake.

"I'm very worried about the current situation [in Venezuela], in which basic goods and services such as food, water, health care and clothes aren't available," Ban said last week during a trip to meet with Argentine President Mauricio Macri. "This triggers a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela which is created by political instability."

“I don’t know where Ban Ki-moon gets his facts and figures,” Ramirez said. “The United Nations offices in Venezuela and the [U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization] have said that it’s not true."

The ambassador noted that Venezuela has had an excellent relationship with Ban over the years and expected to be able to remind him that "you need to keep a sense of proportion" about things, Venezuelan outlet, Noticias 24, reported.

"Our country has been subjected to permanent aggression, mainly from the United States and other centers of powers, but we have a position of respect and support worldwide," he asserted.

Venezuela is experiencing a deepening economic and political crisis, with basic goods like food and medicine being in short supply or impossible to find. In recent weeks, tens of thousands have left the country hoping to buy staples in Colombia and other countries.

Maduro is also facing stiff congressional opposition that is bent on removing him from office. He has blamed the opposition and the shortage of commodities on the United States and on greedy business owners.

Opposition politicians contend the shortages are the result of government mismanagement and manipulation of the economy.

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