Venezuela’s senior leaders charged Sen. Marco Rubio and the CIA of plotting to topple the government of President Nicolás Maduro.
With their country descending into crisis, Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada and Carlos Ron, the chargé d'affaires of the Embassy of Venezuela, accused Rubio and CIA Director Mike Pompeo of secretly conspiring against Caracas so that Washington can install new leaders amenable to U.S. interests.
“What this group is trying to do with Venezuela is basically divide the government, recognize other leaders and foment a conflict with the Venezuelans,” Ron told a small group of reporters in Washington on Tuesday. “This is absolutely unacceptable.”
The South American country with the world’s largest oil reserves is spinning out of control, its economy in tatters and its people starving as oil revenues plummet. Tensions reached a tipping point this week ahead of a July 30 vote to change the Venezuelan constitution and strip lawmakers of power. The government argues the change is needed to stabilize the country, but U.S. leaders see it as a move toward a “full dictatorship.”
In a nearly two-hour discussion at the Venezuelan residency in Washington, the Venezuelan officials — including interim Ambassador to the Organization of American States Carmen Velasquez — criticized U.S. threats of sweeping sanctions targeting Venezuelan oil if the vote isn’t called off.
Ron said the American people are not hearing the full story and accused the United States of unfairly attacking a democratically elected government.
He said relations with the United States have long been challenging, but that tensions have escalated under President Donald Trump, citing sanctions against Venezuela Vice President Tareck El Aissami and threat of an embargo against Venezuelan oil.
“At this moment, relations are not good,” Ron said.
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