US Secretary of State John Kerry has been accused by Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Elias Jaua of inciting violence and “murder”.
Elias Jaua was reacting to comments by John Kerry, who accused Venezuela of waging a “terror campaign against its own people” in its response to protests.
Venezuela has repeatedly accused the US of orchestrating the unrest, which already left 28 people dead.
The US argues Venezuela is using it as a scapegoat for its domestic problems.
On national television, Elias Jaua said he was not going to “tone down” his rhetoric following John Kerry’s strong words on Thursday.
“Mr. Kerry, we denounce you before the world. You are inciting violence in Venezuela, and we will denounce it in every part of the world. We denounce you as a murderer of the Venezuelan people,” Elias Jaua said in Caracas.
“Every time we’re about to isolate and reduce the violence, out comes Mr. Kerry with a speech and immediately road blocks are reactivated in the mains spots of violence,” he added.
While US State Departments’ spokeswoman Marie Harf declined to comment on Elias Jaua’s comments, she said the Venezuelan government was “not telling the truth” about the protests.
On Thursday, John Kerry also said the Organization of American States (OAS), allies and neighbors should demand accountability of Venezuela over the protests.
“We are trying to find a way to get the [President Nicolas] Maduro government to end this terror campaign against his own people and to begin to, hopefully, respect human rights in an appropriate way,” John Kerry told a committee in the US Congress.
American legislators say they are ready to impose sanctions on the oil-rich nation, although no decision has yet been taken on the matter.
President Nicolas Maduro, however, offered his American counterpart, Barack Obama, some advice on Friday.
“Let’s hope that with two remaining years left [in his presidency], Mr. Obama doesn’t pass into history as the man who attacked Venezuela and filled it with violence,” he told foreign reporters in the presidential palace in Caracas.
Nicolas Maduro also said the destabilization of Venezuela would have “unbearable consequences” for the US, bringing about “political instability in Latin America” and thousands of people to seek refuge in the richer neighboring nation.
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