Under siege at home, Maduro gets support from regional allies in Cuba

Article originally appeared in ReutersVenezuela’s leftist, regional allies pledged to support its embattled government at a summit in Havana on Monday, where President Nicolas Maduro accused the opposition of resorting to violence to lay the groundwork for a foreign invasion.

The show of solidarity comes as Maduro faces intensifying criticism abroad, as well as the first sustained wave of anti-government demonstrations in three years, fuelled by an economic crisis and erosion of democracy.

“We reject the aggressions and concerted manipulations against our ally,” read the statement published by the leftist ALBA bloc of 11 Caribbean and Latin American countries.

The association was founded by Communist-ruled Cuba and its top ally Venezuela 13 years ago as a counterpoint to U.S. influence in Latin America.

It singled out the Washington-based Organization of American States, which has been bitterly critical of Maduro, for what it called attempts to undermine Venezuela’s sovereignty.

The OAS chief, Luis Almagro, called for elections to restore full democracy in Venezuela, given the political and institutional crisis roiling the country. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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