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Venezuela accuses U.S. of conspiring to topple President Maduro

By Allen Cone
Venezuela accuses U.S. of conspiring to topple President Maduro
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called the OAS secretary-general "a piece of garbage." UPI File Photo

WASHINGTON, May 6 (UPI) -- Venezuela's foreign minister is accusing the United States of conspiring to topple President Nicolás Maduro's government.

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez alleges that the plot is in conjunction with Venezuela's opposition.

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She says the plot includes attempting to remove Maduro's government from the Organization of American States in conjunction with the organization's secretary-general, Luis Almagro.

"This is part of the ongoing and relentless aggression by the United States against Venezuela," Rodriguez said Thursday at a meeting of OAS.

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She also said Venezuelan diplomats' work has been hindered by not being able to travel to the United States because visa requests have been denied.

"I challenge the United States State Department to demonstrate that what I am saying is not true, if they do not, I will show the note," she said.

Last year, Almagro alleged the Venezuelan government was stifling political dissent, controlling the media and blocking opposition leaders from running for office.

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Almagro's spokesman Sergio Jellinek denied charges that he was working with the United States.

Maduro has called the Uruguayan diplomat "a piece of garbage."

Venezuela has heavily influenced OAS because many members receive subsidized oil under Venezuela's Petrocaribe program. But plunging oil prices have reduced that impact.

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Michael Fitzpatrick, interim permanent representative for the United States, said Venezuela's growing shortages of basic goods and limited opposition voices was troubling.

Meanwhile, lawmakers representing Maduro staged a one-day walkout from the National Assembly, where they are the minority.

Minutes after the walkout, Maduro supporters surrounded the Legislative Palace in downtown Caracas, shouting insults and chanting slogans against the opposition.

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Opposition lawmakers are "traitors to the fatherland," the mob was yelling.

Opposition legislator Freddy Guevara announced on Tuesday that the assembly would would pursue impeachment proceedings against Maduro for an alleged breach of the country's constitution.

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