CARACAS— Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro hit out at the United States for meddling in the affairs of the OPEC-nation on May 20, accusing the American government of threatening sanctions against Venezuela.
Meeting with government ministers in Caracas, Maduro lashed out at Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson and America's right after a recent Senate hearing where government officials debated the imposition of sanctions on Venezuela.
“I reject, I hate the interference of these right-wing sectors of the United States in the internal affairs of Bolivar's homeland. What's more detestable is Jacobson's statements,” he said.
Last month, Jacobson said sanctions could be an “important tool” to pressure Maduro's government to negotiate with the country's opposition to bring an end to months of violent anti-government protests that have killed over 40 people.
Maduro called on Jacobson to stop meddling in Venezuela's internal affairs.
“What does Venezuela's dialogue have to do with you Ms. Jacobson? Worry about the many problems in the United States, why are you interfering in Venezuela, what's it to you Ms. Jacobson, to come and comment on the dialogue,” he declared.
Amid tense talks with Maduro's government, Venezuela's opposition pulled out of month-long negotiations aimed at putting an end to political unrest and mass anti-government protests, claiming that Socialist Party leaders had undermined the dialogue with constant insults and a refusal to consider amnesty for opposition-linked prisoners.
Despite the gulf of differences between both sides of Venezuela's politics, Maduro called on the opposition coalition of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) to also come out against threats of sanctions by the United States.
“I demand the MUD to reject the accusations of the Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, to reject the threats of sanctions against Venezuela by the External Relations Committee of the United States. I ask this of the MUD on the negotiating table, dialogue with concrete results,” added Maduro.
Maduro has accused the opposition of being obstructionist but at the same time has urged them not to walk away from the negotiating table, saying such a disappointing outcome goes against the wishes of millions of Venezuelans and benefits the country's foreign enemies.
The MUD is seeking the release of demonstrators arrested during recent protests, as well as participation in the selection of new leaders of Venezuela's electoral council.
Since February, in what has been the OPEC member's worst unrest in a decade, at least 42 people have died in violence related to the protests, more than 800 have been injured and about 3,000 arrested, of whom more than 200 remain behind bars.