Venezuela's Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza has rejected criticism from the office of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, describing the comments as “interventionist.”
In a press conference, Arreaza said that he had handed a formal protest to the German ambassador to Venezuela, Stefan Andreas Herzberg, denouncing the intervention in Venezuelan affairs.
The protest comes after German Press Secretary Steffen Seiber said Monday that Venezuela “must stop arbitrary detention and the excessive use of force against opponents of the regime, as well as guarantee the protection of former Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz and free all political prisoners.”
Seiber announced that Merkel would adhere to the Lima Declaration, signed on August 8 by 11 countries, which refuses to recognize the legitimacy of Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly.
"Chancellor Jorge Arreaza: If Germany can do something, it is respect Venezuela's sovereignty."
The declaration outlines 16 measures to increase pressure against President Maduro. These include: qualifying Maduro as a "dictator," rejecting the Constituent Assembly and refusing to acknowledge any legal action that does not come from the opposition-controlled National Assembly.
In response to Germany’s criticism, Arreaza said that no country could “interfere” with the internal affairs in Venezuela.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres meanwhile has encouraged dialogue between the government and the opposition.
“The dialogue between the government of Venezuela and the opposition should serve as a platform to develop a political solution to the crisis in the South American country,” Guterres said in a press conference.
“Latin America has successfully managed to get rid of both foreign intervention and authoritarianism, and (...) it is very important to make sure that this legacy is safeguarded, namely in Venezuela," he added.
Guterres support for non-intervention follows threats by U.S. President Donald Trump that the United States would consider a “military option” against Venezuela.