U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday expressed support for a right-wing referendum to pull Venezuela's leftist president Nicolas Maduro from power, provoking a powerful response from Maduro's fellow socialist Evo Morales, president of Bolivia.
"We are sovereign states of the Great Motherland that fights for life and liberation."
—Evo Morales"John Kerry continues to believe that Latin America is its backyard—and its people their peons—by asking for the recall of Nicolas Maduro," wrote Morales on his Twitter account, in TeleSUR's translation.
"Kerry should know we are not anyone's colony. We are sovereign states of the Great Motherland that fights for life and liberation," Morales wrote.
Venezuela's right-wing opposition has been pushing for a recall election to oust Maduro as the country struggles with food shortages and rolling blackouts in the wake of the plunge in oil prices.
And mere hours after expressing support for a referendum to oust Maduro from power, Kerry also announced "high-level talks to ease tensions" with Maduro's government, Reuters reported.
Kerry's comments were met with fury from Venezuelan foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez, "who accused Washington and OAS chief Luis Almagro of 'international bullying,'" wrote Reuters.
The Organization of American States (OAS), led by secretary general and former Uruguay minister of foreign affairs Luis Almagro, has also been pushing to suspend Venezuela under Maduro's leadership from its membership, condemning Maduro's actions during the nation's crisis. Critics have accused the OAS and Almagro of hypocrisy, as the organization has ignored the recent ouster of Brazil's leftist president Dilma Rousseff.
"Every day we have evidence of the secretary general's bias in favor of sectors of the opposition who are seeking a coup in Venezuela," Rodriguez told the news service. "I see now this is ordered by Washington. I know they are on Washington's payroll to meddle in the domestic affairs of Venezuela."
Kerry said the U.S. did not support OAS suspending Venezuela's membership, after a meeting with Rodriguez on Tuesday, but he still "called on Venezuela to hold the recall vote in a 'timely' manner, suggesting the U.S. government would want to see it held in 2016," TeleSUR wrote.
A recall vote in 2016 would force snap elections and oust Maduro from power, while a recall in 2017 would allow Maduro's executive vice president to serve out the remainder of his term.
Morales said that he would withdraw Bolivia from the OAS if the body "continued to be used as an instrument by the empire," according to TeleSUR.