Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says former Uruguayan President Jose Mujica was right to say he was ''mad as a goat,'' just for a different reason. As Laura Frykberg reports, the war of words comes as Venezuela's economic crisis deepens.
A war of words is underway between Latin American leaders. Former Uruguayan president Jose Mujica launching the latest attack. Calling Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro 'mad as a goat', for failing to sit down and discuss diplomatic disputes. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT, NICOLAS MADURO, SAYING: "I'm mad as a goat? Yes, I'm mad with love for Venezuela, for the Bolivarian Revolution, for Chavez and his example." Policies put in place by former leader Hugo Chavez are seen as part of Venezuela's problem though. Price controls on basic goods to make them more affordable - but instead, putting off producers because it affects profits. Food shortages and looting are now common - Venezuela has the highest inflation in the world. Plunging oil prices have also taken their toll. Oil accounts for almost all export revenue and funds social programmes. It's a toxic mix that's sparking violence and unrest. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER, CEBR, VICKY PRYCE, SAYING: "This is a country which is in serious fiscal difficulties. And of course we have a country which has an inflation which officially is calculated at 180 percent, some people say it is actually considerably higher than that. This is a very unstable situation. Of course the oil price decline has been a very severe issue for them." A recent poll shows nearly 70 percent of Venezuelans want Maduro out of office this year. If this latest quarrel is anything to go by, he wouldn't go quietly.