Vice President Joe Biden was playing defense again in the media Monday, as he was accused by Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro of trying to overthrow the current government.
The Associated Press reports that in a televised address, Biden was called out during at an energy summit for supposedly claiming the government’s days were numbered.
The White House is once again jumping to his aide by issuing a statement:
“President Maduro’s accusations are patently false and are clearly part of an effort to distract from the concerning situation in Venezuela, which includes repeated violations of freedom of speech, assembly, and due process.”
Maduro mentioned Biden by name in his speech: “What Vice President Biden has done, has no name,” Maduro said. “Vice President Biden: Look me in the eyes. I saw you in Brazil, I gave you my hand. You, who said this is a new era for relations in Latin America, were going to conspire against Venezuela.”
This current tenor is a far cry from several weeks ago, when the two were seen together in Brazil for the swearing-in ceremony of Dilma Rousseff.
According to U.S. officials, Maduro told Biden that he wanted to work towards improving U.S.-Venezuelan relations. However, he did express concern over the sanctions issued by the U.S. claiming that Venezuelan officials had violated human rights.
Shortly after the sanctions were announced, Maduro told all Venezuelans to burn their U.S. visas to protest the “imperial yankee” policies.