Venezuela's Defense Minister, Vladimir Padrino, has slammed comments made by U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, who mused about the possibility of an internal military coup that would topple Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Diplomats have said that such harsh rhetoric from the president impedes the broader mission of Tillerson and other State Department envoys who seek to build relationships to further the USA agenda.
Tillerson "is a respectful person who wants to help those who are in limbo to reach a solution", said Steven Goldstein, undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday warned countries in the Western Hemisphere to beware of Chinese investment, saying it is reminiscent of European colonialism.
During a brief visit to Mexico in a five-country tour of the region, Tillerson discussed regional topics with Videgaray, including development in Central America.More news: ASIO takes custody of secret cabinet documents, obtained by the ABC
"Latin America doesn't need new imperial powers that seek only to benefit their own people", Tillerson said.
Tillerson, who received a standing ovation at the university, his alma mater, outlined a strategy that focuses on ramping up global pressure on Maduro to agree to credible elections to ease the country's economic and political crisis.
"The development of China-Latin America ties does not target or reject any third party, nor does it affect the interests of third parties in Latin America", the ministry said.
Venezuela's opposition leaders have long urged the military to take action against Maduro.
Speaking ahead of a five-nation Latin America tour, the USA diplomat insisted the Trump administration was not advocating "regime change", but suggested the Venezuelan leader could flee to ally Cuba.
"If the kitchen gets a little too hot for him, I am sure that he's got some friends over in Cuba that could give him a nice hacienda on the beach and he could have a nice life over there", Tillerson said, referring to 55-year-old Maduro, who has a close relationship with Cuba's communist government.