San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Maduro denounces U.S. 'interventionism' in Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela’s acting President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday his government would provide “new direct evidence” of U.S. interventionism in his country after he cast a vote in his bid to succeed Hugo Chávez.

Maduro, who was handpicked by Chávez to lead his nation, expelled two U.S. military attaches the day the leftist leader died last month, and he accused former U.S. officials of hatching a plot to kill him during the campaign.

“There are always difficulties with the United States because they are always plotting,” he charged after voting in the presidential election pitting him against opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

“Tomorrow [Monday] we will present new direct evidence of interventionism in the domestic situation of Venezuela by U.S. embassy officials,” the former foreign minister and vice president said.

Shortly before he announced Chávez’s death on March 5, Maduro had accused the two U.S. military attaches of trying to recruit Venezuelan military officers to destabilize the OPEC member nation.

“What would happen if … a Venezuelan military attaché at the embassy in Washington started looking for soldiers in the Pentagon to reject [President Barack] Obama’s authority or raise arms against Obama?” he said.

The two nations have not had ambassadors posted in each other’s capitals since 2010.

Maduro said Venezuela was “always willing” to have better relations but that it would depend “on them respecting our country.”

The United States expelled two Venezuelan diplomats in a tit-for-tat move last month. Nine days later, Caracas suspended an informal “channel of communications” with Washington.

The two nations have had chilly ties since Chávez took office in 1999, but Venezuela still exports 900,000 barrels of oil per day to its northern neighbor.

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