Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez on Tuesday reiterated his government’s previous warnings that the Trump administration’s push to deliver humanitarian aid to Venezuela is just a cover to advance ongoing U.S.-backed efforts to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
Cuba has been a key ally of the Venezuelan government for the past two decades and has stood by Maduro in recent weeks as President Donald Trump and others have thrown their support behind Juan Guaidó—the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly who claims Maduro’s latest election was a sham and has declared himself “interim president.”
At a press conference in Havana, Rodríguez denounced Venezuela’s current political crisis as “a failed imperialist coup . . . fabricated in Washington,” according to Reuters. He also denied claims by the Trump administration that his country has troops on the ground in Venezuela or is controlling its military, “adding all of the some 20,000 Cubans in Venezuela were civilians, most health professionals.”
Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), and Trump-appointed Special Representative to Venezuela Elliott Abrams—who has spent much of his political career “crushing democracy” in Latin America—have defended the administration’s recent moves and threatened further intervention if Maduro remains president.
Noting the repeated threats from top U.S. officials, Rodríguez said, “There is a big political and communications campaign underway which are usually the prelude to larger actions by this government.”
Maduro has refused to step down or allow supposed foreign aid—presently stockpiled in neighboring Colombia—to enter his country, also warning that it is part of the efforts to overthrow him. Guaidó has promised to bring the aid in via air, land, and sea on Saturday, after a “Live Aid-ish” concert planned by English billionaire Richard Branson that is set to take place in Colombia on Friday.
While Bolton insisted on Monday that there are no plans to use the U.S. military to force aid into Venezuela, Rodríguez warned: “We are all witnesses in the making of humanitarian pretexts. A deadline has been set for forcing the entry of humanitarian aid.”
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Jessica Corbett is a Common Dreams staff writer.