Venezuela’s Maduro slams Biden’s remarks

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Venezuela’s President has criticized US Vice President Joe Biden for his recent remarks on the situation in the South American country.

The rebuke by Nicolas Maduro came after Biden said on Sunday that the situation in Venezuela is alarming and accused Maduro’s government of using “armed vigilantes” against anti-government protesters.

Maduro said Biden’s remarks are indicative of Washington’s frustration over its defeat in the Organization of American States (OAS).

On March 8, the US-based organization offered in a declaration its full backing to the Venezuelan government’s peace initiative and the continuation of a “national dialogue” in Venezuela.

Twenty nine states voted in favor of the declaration and only three member countries – the United States, Canada and Panama – opposed the measure.

Maduro said, “We reject their (the Americans’) aggression,” adding, “They were defeated in the OAS and now they want revenge.”

Violent protests have been staged in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, against the government.

The opponents of the government demand the resignation of Maduro and an end to the ongoing violence, which has so far claimed at least 20 lives since the protests erupted on February 4.

The opposition has criticized the Maduro administration for the country’s high crime rate, as Venezuela ranks as one of the most violence-stricken countries in the world, with an average of 71 murders every day.

In addition, opponents have criticized the government for the economic hardships, claiming that his policies have led to a shortage of essential goods and high inflation.

Last year, Venezuela’s inflation soared to 56.2 percent, which was almost three times higher than the rate of 20.1 percent registered in 2012.

Maduro has deplored the violence as a product of a “fascist” political minority and says the United States is backing the opposition to launch a coup d’état in the South American country.

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