CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Friday that South Florida politicians are leading the United States into an extremist foreign policy against his country, and his foreign minister called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a murderer.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are leading a “Miami lobby” trying to influence President Obama, Maduro said in a televised news conference Friday. Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen are co-sponsoring efforts in their respective chambers to impose sanctions on members of the Venezuelan government tied to human rights abuses.
“Obama can’t let himself be taken by the Miami lobby,” Maduro said. “I call on the United States to take it easy. They’re taking President Obama to an abyss and he’s going to end up crashing.”
Since the start of protests more than a month ago, the government has accused the United States of trying to overthrow Maduro’s government. Last month, Venezuela expelled three U.S. diplomats, accusing them of organizing students to participate in anti-government protests.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua called Kerry a “murderer of the Venezuelan people.”
“Each time we’re about to isolate and reduce the violence, out comes Mr. Kerry to speak,” and up go the barricades and the violence, Jaua said.