Venezuela rejects OAS interference
CARACAS, March 5 (Xinhua/Sun) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Wednesday dismissed as "interference" a request by the Organization of American States (OAS) to hold talks on the political turmoil roiling the South American country.
The bid to discuss Venezuela's internal crisis at the Permanent Council of the OAS is simply a move to "interfere," said Maduro, adding he will respond to any "attack" on national sovereignty.
During a military-civic parade in the capital Caracas marking the one-year anniversary of the death of former president Hugo Chavez, Maduro, Chavez's political successor, said "the OAS' nefarious history of 60 years of coups d'état belongs to the past."
Maduro's remarks came after the government of Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli on Tuesday proposed an urgent meeting of Foreign ministers of OAS member countries to discuss the violent political protests in Venezuela.
"There's a right-wing government that's aiming to convene the Permanent Council of the OAS. It is a plan for the intervention of foreign forces in the country. I am going to respond forcefully and powerfully to any attempt at intervention in Venezuela. I ask the people for their support," said Maduro.
"The OAS should stay out of here now and forever. Our path is Unasur (the Union of South American Nations)," Maduro added.
Maduro also announced authorities captured Wednesday several violent protest leaders attempting to blow up bridges, highways and roads in four states.
"Leaders of the fascist (violent group) have been caught and (authorities) seized weapons of war, bombs, Molotov cocktails and other devices," he said.
The perpetrators will be brought before the Prosecutor's Office later in the day, he said, adding, "They must be punished, the law must be applied severely."
Maduro said protests were continuing "freely and calmly," though protest groups tried to block several main thoroughfares in Caracas earlier in the day to impede the anniversary celebrations. Ongoing protests initially called by extreme right-wing groups have led to violent clashes that have left 18 dead and about 300 injured, including 51 police officers, since Feb. 12, according to official figures