The Venezuelan opposition is staging a nationwide protest on Thursday to call for a recall of President Nicolas Maduro, who took office in 2013 following the death of President Hugo Chavez. Photo courtesy of Diputado LEON
CARACAS, Venezuela, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's regime on Monday said an upcoming nationwide opposition protest is a coup d'etat attempt facilitated by the United States.
"It has become clear the brand and authorship of the coup d'etat planned for this coming Sept. 1, 2016, in Venezuela in complicity with the anti-democratic opposition and the international right," Maduro's Foreign Ministry, through Venezuela's Office of the Deputy Minister for North America, said in a statement. "The government of President Barack Hussein Obama, in his last years, seeks the instability of Venezuela and the region to legitimize its imperial plans against the peace and development of the people."
The Venezuelan opposition, consolidated in the Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition, is preparing to stage a nationwide rally on Thursday as part of efforts to initiate a recall referendum against Maduro.
Maduro's ruling party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV, has said the rally is an illegitimate coup attempt seeking to overthrow a democratically elected leader. The United States is now being blamed by the Venezuelan government for creating the alleged coup.
"The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela alerts the international community and declares directly responsible the U.S. government for these conspiratorial plans," the foreign ministry added.
The ministry also rejected U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby's recent statement in which he said the United States is "deeply disturbed" by the decision of Maduro's administration to jail opposition leader Daniel Ceballos, the former mayor of San Cristobal, ahead of Thursday's opposition rally.
Kirby said the Venezuelan government's actions represent an "effort to intimidate and impede the Venezuelan people's right to peacefully express their opinion on September 1.
"We condemn it and call for Mr. Ceballos' immediate release," Kirby said.
The Venezuelan government linked Kirby's comments to 14-year-old criticisms of Chavez's administration made by former U.S. President George W. Bush.
"These statements, which take up the exact words of President George W. Bush in 2002, when he attacked the legitimate and constitutional order in Venezuela, encourage and promote the violent, extremist and anti-democratic factors in Venezuela, which already perpetrated crimes against life of our citizens, and now promote actions of a terrorist nature and threaten the peace of the republic, with the protection and irresponsible support of the imperial government," the foreign ministry wrote.