Tuesday, 18 February 2014 00:01
CARACAS (AFP): Venezuela on Sunday alleged that the United States was trying to “promote and legitimise efforts to destabilise” the country’s democracy, after almost two weeks of anti-government protests.
A Foreign Ministry statement said President Nicolas Maduro’s government “flatly rejects remarks by US Secretary of State John Kerry, insofar as they represent yet another manoeuvre by the government in Washington” to exert undue influence in Caracas.
During a failed two-day coup against Maduro’s predecessor in 2002, the United States voiced support for a non-elected interim leader and not the elected president at the time, US critic Hugo Chavez.
The move deeply undermined Washington’s credibility in Latin America.
Kerry had voiced alarm Saturday at what he called “senseless violence” that has broken out during protests in Venezuela and heavily criticised the detention of anti-government demonstrators.
With supporters and opponents of Maduro’s leftist government staging rival rallies in Caracas, following protests over soaring inflation and basic goods shortages, Kerry said he was deeply concerned, particularly at an arrest warrant being issued for opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.
“These actions have a chilling effect on citizens’ rights to express their grievances peacefully,” the top US diplomat said in a statement.
Lopez on Sunday called for a major protest march in 48 hours’ time toward the Justice Ministry in Caracas.