HAVANA TIMES — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced today the severance of relations with Panama after accusing President Ricardo Martinelli of conspiring against the country and seeking foreign intervention via the OAS, reported dpa news.
“Facing an open conspiracy, I have decided to break off political and diplomatic relations with the government of Panama in defense of sovereignty,” he said in rejecting the intention of Panama to have the Organization of American States (OAS) take up the situation in Venezuela after three weeks of protests.
In a ceremony remembering President Hugo Chavez, on the first anniversary of his death, Maduro lashed out at Martinelli, whom he called a “lackey” and said that an international campaign against Venezuela seeks to “justify the unjustifiable.”
“There is a move by the US government in association with a lackey government, with a president who in the coming months leaves office, a right-wing president who is not worthy of his people, who has been actively working against Venezuela, creating conditions for the OAS and other agencies to intervene in our country. This is the president of Panama,” he said.
The event remembering Chavez was attended by presidents Evo Morales (Bolivia), Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua), and Decy Bouterse (Surinam).
“Nobody’s going to ask for an intervention against Venezuela. I’m calling the people to unite; this is the home of Simon Bolivar which must be respected. We will know how to respond to whoever messes with Venezuela,” said Maduro.
Maduro also criticized statements by the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, who suggested sending a commission to Venezuela to review the situation in the country, after three weeks of anti-government protests that have left 18 dead and over 250 injured.
He called such an idea “crazy” since Venezuela “has not requested a discussion on its internal situation in the OAS.”
After calling the OAS a dying organization with 60 years of history of interventions and dictators, Maduro said that if a delegation of the OAS wants to come to Venezuela they would have to sneak into the country, because “No OAS delegation is entering without our permission.”
Maduro clarified that Venezuela has only requested a meeting of UNASUR, to which Surinam holds the rotating presidency, to explain its political situation.
“We requested a session to bring proof of a fascist coup attack that Venezuelan has been subjected to,” said Maduro, noting that the protests against his government are part of a plan to overthrow him.