CARACAS, Venezuela — President
Maduro said he was taking action because Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli criticized police actions against Venezuelan protesters and because the Central American leader has urged that the Organization of American States debate Maduro's alleged repression of the demonstrators.
Referring to protests that have roiled the country for three weeks, Maduro said he rejected any OAS debate of them as interference.
Martinelli has also called for the release of Leopoldo
"A right-wing government is planning to convoke a meeting of the OAS to justify intervention by foreign forces in Venezuela," Maduro said after a military parade in Chavez's honor that was attended by thousands of red-shirted supporters. He called Martinelli a "lackey" conspiring with the United States.
On Thursday, the OAS is scheduled to discuss the Venezuelan situation in a meeting in Washington.
Maduro and presidents
Protest marches were reported in Caracas and several other cities. Authorities used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds in the Altamira and Chacao sections of Caracas, the capital.
At least 18 people have been killed and hundreds injured in protests that began in western Tachira state and swept across many Venezuelan cities in recent weeks. Demonstrators have railed against high inflation, food shortages and a high violent crime rate.
Maduro reiterated his willingness to talk to opposition leaders. But his opponents have conditioned such talks on the release of Lopez and others, who they say are political prisoners.