The powerful Venezuelan lawmaker tied to a potential death order against U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio dismissed the notion late Wednesday that he has a personal interest in getting the Florida Republican killed.
“The things we’ve said here about Narco Rubio are responses to his attacks,” Diosdado Cabello said, repeating his preferred slur against the senator. “But from my telling you that, to coming up with a plan to assassinate someone — you don’t know us. We always deal with things head on. We don’t use imperialism’s methods.”
Cabello made the comments on his state-run television program, “Con el Mazo Dando” (Hitting with the Sledgehammer), three days after the Miami Herald revealed that U.S. intelligence linked an unverified death threat against Rubio to Cabello last month. A security detail organized by Capitol Police has been protecting Rubio in Washington and Miami since then.
Rubio’s office declined to comment Thursday on Cabello’s remarks. It has also declined comment on the security detail and the death threat.
The U.S. believes Cabello, a former military chief, controls all of Venezuela’s security forces. Rubio, a close White House adviser on Latin America, has forcefully advocated for the U.S. to penalize Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s government over the inauguration of a new legislative assembly elected under suspected fraud.
Cabello, a delegate to the new constituent assembly and top leader of the ruling socialist party, spent most of his Wednesday program lashing out at President Donald Trump for saying offhandedly last week that his administration might consider a “military option” against Venezuela. But Cabello also devoted some time to needling Rubio, one of his favorite U.S. targets.
“I’m not the one who has a brother-in-law in prison for drug trafficking, and I’m not the one who as a senator has stuck his hand out to help him,” Cabello said. “That’s you.”
Photo credit: Ariana Cubillos, Associated Press