Venezuela warns against attempts to incite foreign intervention
CARACAS, March 6 (Xinhua/Sun) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro warned Thursday against attempts to incite foreign intervention in Venezuela, and pledged to solve the country's political unrest within the regional framework.
Maduro said in a statement Panama's Foreign Minister, Francisco Alvarez de Soto, and its ambassador to the United States, Mario E. Jaramillo, were "conspiring" to bring about foreign intervention in Venezuela.
He accused Panama's right-wing government of lobbying for U.S interference.
His warning came a day after he announced Venezuela was breaking off diplomatic and trade ties with Panama, following Panama's request for an urgent meeting by the Organization of American States (OAS), a U.S.-dominated regional bloc, on Venezuela's unrest.
The OAS Council has agreed to meet Friday in Washington, headquarters of the regional bloc.
Rebuking the Panamanian government as a "lackey" government, Maduro said earlier Wednesday the moves by the U.S. and Panama created the conditions for the OAS and other bodies to move towards intervention.
Maintaining that the right-wing protests were being fueled by the U.S. in an attempt to topple the socialist government, Maduro said he would respond forcefully to any attempted intervention.
Maduro also pledged, during a meeting Thursday with his counterpart from Suriname, Desire Bouterse, to solve the political unrest within the regional framework of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which groups 12 South American nations.
A special high-level UNASUR meeting will be held in coming days to analyze the situation, Maduro and Bouterse jointly announced.
Suriname currently holds UNASUR's rotating presidency.
The special meeting aims "to lay out the circumstances and violent attacks by small groups that have tried to infringe on society and impose a political crisis in Venezuela," according to the joint statement.
The leaders of UNASUR member countries were discussing the exact date of the meeting, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua told media.
Meanwhile, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez condemned the attempts by Western countries to destabilize and overthrow the governments of Venezuela and Ukraine, according to a statement issued by Cuba's Foreign Ministry on Thursday.
Cuba expressed "invariable and total solidarity" with Venezuela and its constitutional President Nicolas Maduro, and condemned attempts by foreign interference, especially the U.S., to defeat the Venezuelan government, Rodriguez said at a press conference, according to the statement.
The ongoing anti-government protests in Venezuela have left 20 dead, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the president of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello.