President Donald Trump said on Monday he wanted democracy restored soon in Venezuela and warned that the United States might take additional measures to apply pressure on the oil-producing nation.
In a statement, Venezuela's Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the US and its allies of threatening the country's sovereignty, and said it was prepared to defend its independence from the U.S.'s "racist government".
The United States, which has applied financial sanctions against Venezuela, is prepared to take additional steps if the Socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro continues on a path to authoritarian rule, he said.
During his speech to Latin American guests, President Trump said that the current situation in Venezuela is "completely unacceptable" and demanded a full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela.
At a dinner with Latin American leaders on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Trump called the burgeoning crisis in Venezuela "totally unacceptable" and said the USA was ready to ensure its democracy could be restored.
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He added, "The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented but that socialism has been faithfully implemented", which garnered little applause from the world body.
Differences over ethanol trade, open-skies aviation and illegal drug production, and even North Korea, could crop up during the discussion, but the top issue will be the Venezuelan crisis, Latin American and White House officials said.
Arreaza instead will represent Venezuela and is to address the global body Thursday. More than 120 people died in protest-related clashes.
At the U.N., Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza also condemned Trump's remarks but he ignored questions at a news conference about the criticism Venezuela faced from other leaders at the U.N. gathering. In March, there were massive street protests after the Venezuelan Supreme Court, an institution loyal to Maduro, chose to take powers away from the democratically-elected members of congress.
Venezuela's government and its political opposition hit an impasse after two days of meetings last week in the Dominican Republic. Venezuela is a major oil producer and supplies 10% of the oil consumed by the U.S. "We have more than 30,000 (Venezuelan) refugees in Brazil, thousands of refugees in Colombia and some in Panama, "he said".