WASHINGTON, D.C.: Caracas on Friday (Saturday in Manila) denounced President Donald Trump’s plans to meet with Latin American leaders concerning Venezuela’s ongoing crisis, branding the talks as “rival dialogue.”
Earlier in the day Trump’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster had announced plans for a “working dinner” on Monday that will convene several Latin American leaders in New York, as the UN General Assembly gets underway.
During the dinner Trump expects to “discuss the crisis in Venezuela, as well as the strong economic ties and extraordinary success of like-minded Latin American nations in recent decades,” McMaster told journalists, without elaborating on which leaders the talks will include.
But having just begun exploratory talks with opposition delegates this week, Caracas met the news with scorn.
“You have nothing to evaluate President Trump. . .evaluate your internal problems,” Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told journalists, lambasting the planned meeting as “rival dialogue.”
Officials from both the Venezuelan government and the opposition began exploratory talks Wednesday, mediated by Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the former Spanish prime minister.
The opposing sides agreed Thursday to a commission of “friendly countries”—Mexico, Chile, Bolivia and Nicaragua—tasked with assisting negotiations to emerge from the crisis that had fueled months of deadly protests.
Arreaza also appeared to respond to Trump’s threat last month of a “military option” in Venezuela.
“Anyone who dares to attack Venezuela will suffer the consequences,” he said.