Venezuela has rejected accusations from U.S. Secretary of State-nominee Condoleezza Rice that it meddles in the affairs of other Latin American countries.

At a news conference in Caracas Wednesday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez called the comments from Ms. Rice "unacceptable." He denied that the government of President Hugo Chavez interferes in other countries' affairs, and accused the United States of trying to meddle in Venezuela's affairs.

Ms. Rice made her comments Tuesday at her U.S. Senate confirmation hearing. She called the Chavez government a "negative force" that affects other countries and suppresses opposing voices. She also said the relationship between the leftist Mr. Chavez and Cuban leader Fidel Castro has been "deeply troubling."

U.S.-Venezuelan relations have been tense since Mr. Chavez took power in 1999.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.