The Venezuelan government announced Wednesday that it will boycott an “illegal” Mercosur meeting, scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
In a public statement, the government said the meeting was a gross violation of Mercosur regulations and international law, insisting that it jeopardized the arbitration process currently underway.
“The ongoing reckless use of a body for integration as a means of political hostility against the government and people of Venezuela is alarming,” the statement read.
The government's strong response came after earlier attacks from the head of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, who called on the United States to take economic action against Venezuela.
Speaking to the U.S. Committee on Foreign Relations at a hearing Wednesday, Almagro welcomed President Donald Trump’s call for sanctions, arguing “words are not enough” to address the crisis in Venezuela.
“Let me be clear, the sanctions will not worsen the suffering of the Venezuelan people,” he said.
The OAS head also claimed international intervention was needed, signaling that “leaders of the world must speak up all together and explore what tools they have at their disposal to act.”
As part of his testimony, Almagro lashed out at Tibisay Lucena, claiming the head of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council was “stripping democracy of its content.”
Almagro’s comments come amid heightened international pressure and escalating right-wing protest violence.
On Thursday, Mexico's government called on Venezuela to suspend its July 30 National Constitutent Assembly, an initiative from President Nicolas Maduro to further develop the country's democracy and to help ease tensions with the opposition.
The opposition, however, has called for their supporters to come out on a national strike on Thursday.