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Cuba Cautions Against Foreign Meddling in Venezuela's Crisis

Cuba Foreign Minister Bruno Rodrigues Parrilla gestures during a news conference following his meeting with his Portuguese counterpart Augusto Santos Silva at Lisbon's Necessidades palace Wednesday, April 19, 2017.

A senior Cuban official is warning foreign countries against meddling in the internal affairs of Venezuela, where President Nicolas Maduro is facing down mass protests.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez says foreigners should avoid any interference that could encourage violent extremism, including a coup.

Rodriguez, whose government has close relations with Maduro, said during an official visit to Lisbon, Portugal, on Wednesday that Venezuelans fear foreign action against their country.

Maduro late Tuesday charged the U.S. State Department with encouraging a military intervention.

Human rights organizations and countries including the United States have accused Venezuelan security forces and pro-government groups of using excessive violence against protesters.

Members of the Organization of American States have also criticized what they view as Venezuela's turn toward authoritarianism.