The Democratic National Committee posted a video online this week claiming the Republican presidential nominee's recent remarks have a lot in common with fiery speeches from the late Venezuelan leader.
And it wasn't long before a top Venezuelan official weighed in, condemning what she called an "atrocious and vile" ad.
"The election campaign in the U.S. reflects the profound ethical, moral and political crisis of a degraded system that turns its back on the people," Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said on Twitter. "Comparing candidate Trump with Commander Chavez is an expression of the racist arrogance and irrationality of a party that does not serve its constituents."
The Spanish-language video, which was shared on the DNC's bilingual Twitter account targeting Latino voters
, juxtaposes Chavez speeches with clips of Trump threatening to jail Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton
if he's elected, promising to "open up" libel laws
to crack down on reporters and removing Univision anchor Jorge Ramos
from a press conference.
The ad also includes an excerpt from an interview with former Mexican President Vicente Fox, who's slammed Trump for months
over his pledge to build a wall
on the US-Mexico border. In the clip, Fox calls Trump a dictator and likens him to Chavez, Hitler and Mussolini.
"We already know these tactics," the video says, concluding with a message to voters: "Protect the democracy in our country. Don't vote for Donald Trump."
The ad's ominous implication: that Trump's remarks echo comments Chavez made as he shut down broadcasters
and persecuted political opponents
It's a comparison others have made. Latin America has a long history of leaders who've strong-armed their way into power, and experts on the region have pointed to parallels between Trump and divisive, larger-than-life
figures such as Chavez and Argentina's Juan Peron.
Venezuela's foreign minister said the ad showed a lack of respect for Chavez's legacy. The leftist president, a polarizing leader who frequently criticized the United States, died in 2013
after battling cancer. Throughout his presidency, he denied accusations that his government had incarcerated political opponents and unjustly cracked down on the press.
"Commander Chavez is a leader who transcended our time because of his democratic attitude, his militancy for the poor and his universal sense of humanity," Rodriguez wrote on Twitter.
Trump's campaign and a DNC spokesman did not immediately respond to a request Thursday for comment.
Asked about the Venezuelan criticisms, Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine told CNN en Español that he hadn't seen the video.