Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez has rejected US accusations that his country is “meddling” in Venezuela, and accused Washington of trying to “orchestrate” a coup to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro.
Rodriguez’ comments came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Cuban “security and intelligence thugs” of propping up Maduro’s regime in his UN Security Council speech. He called on the international community to “pick a side,”choosing between President Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who declared himself interim president last week.
“I categorically reject the slanderous accusations launched by the US Secretary of State against Cuba at the UN Security Council,” Rodriguez tweeted later on Saturday. “His attack on the constitutionality of Venezuela, orchestrated from Washington, is doomed to fail despite all lies.”
I categorically reject the slanderous accusations launched by the #US Secretary of State against #Cuba at the UN Security Council. His attack on the constitutionality of #Venezuela, orchestrated from Washington, is doomed to fail despite all lies. https://t.co/6LElM9CDNX
— Bruno Rodríguez P (@BrunoRguezP) January 26, 2019
“Washington designed, financed and arranged the alleged usurpation of the Venezuelan presidency,” Rodriguez claimed in a later tweet.
Guaidó, until now the head of Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly, swore himself in as interim president last Wednesday. His symbolic declaration came after days of anti-government protests in Caracas, and after the country’s Supreme Court declared all acts of the National Assembly null and void.
Within the hour, US President Donald Trump officially recognized Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president, prompting Maduro to sever diplomatic ties with the US. Pompeo’s State Department promised to give Guaidó “the resources he needs to lead the government of Venezuela,” including $20 million in humanitarian aid.
With most of Venezuela’s neighbors echoing American calls for regime change, Cuba is one of a handful of Latin American countries that stuck by Maduro, with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel calling the US and Guaidó’s efforts “imperialist attempts to discredit and destabilize the Bolivarian revolution.” Bolivia and Uruguay remained loyal to the president, and Mexico’s newly-elected leftist government kept its diplomatic relations with Venezuela unchanged.
Nuestro apoyo y solidaridad al Presidente Nicolás Maduro ante los intentos imperialistas para desacreditar y desestabilizar a la Revolución Bolivariana #SomosCuba #SomosContinuidad pic.twitter.com/E442oJFL1b
— Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (@DiazCanelB) January 23, 2019
The US called a UNSC meeting on Saturday to discuss the “situation in Venezuela” which was opposed by Russia and three other countries.
“Venezuela does not represent a threat to peace and security,” Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, told the Security Council. “If anything does represent a threat to peace, it is the shameless and aggressive action of the United States and their allies aimed at the ouster of the legitimately elected president of Venezuela.”
Sitting on the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuela’s economy was once the envy of Latin America. Mismanagement within the nationalized oil industry, coupled with a global downturn in the price of oil, triggered a deficit crisis that the Venezuelan government attempted to fight by printing more money. The resulting hyperinflation has led to widespread food and medicine shortages, and prompted almost three million Venezuelans to flee the country. US sanctions served only to exacerbate the country’s woes.