Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused U.S. President Barack Obama of promoting ongoing protests in the country, and of backing members of the opposition alleged to be behind violence.
In a communique, the Latin American leader demanded that the U.S. explain its motives in “financing, promoting and defending members of the opposition that promote violence against our country.”
Maduro went on to denounce declarations made by Obama regarding the situation in Venezuela, saying that they presented a “gross interference in internal affairs.”
The new accusations come amidst a spike in the unrest that has gripped Venezuela, with some six people killed since demonstrations mounted by the opposition turned violent last week.
Wednesday night saw sporadic clashes between demonstrators in the capital of Caracas, the majority of which are middle class students who are frustrated with the country’s sputtering economy and soaring crime rate, and are seeking a regime change.
Maduro, who was elected last year as the heir apparent following the death of long-time President Hugo Chavez, has accused the opposition of fomenting a coup and inciting violence.
"There is an international campaign to justify a foreign intervention in Venezuela," Maduro said on Wednesday.
Maduro threatens to expel CNN
Meanwhile, Maduro threatened on Thursday to expel television network CNN from the country if it did not "rectify" the way it has covered deadly political protests, Reuters reported.
"I've asked the (information) minister to tell CNN we have started the administrative process to remove them from Venezuela if they don't rectify (their behavior)," Maduro said on state TV. "Enough! I won't accept war propaganda against Venezuela."
Members of the Venezuelan opposition have appealed to the international community over what they say was a tainted election, though little has been presented in the way of evidence of electoral impropriety in what was a closely contested runoff. Spearheading that effort has been Henrique Capriles, the opposition's two-time losing presidential candidate.
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