Venezuela has formally denied claims that it presents an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to U.S. security, in response to the renewed ramping-up of hostilities between the two nations.
"The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela denounces the continued aggression of the U.S. regime by extending the executive order that qualifies Venezuela as an 'unusual and extraordinary threat' to U.S. security," said a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on Saturday.
The document then describes Washington's latest decree as intended to "promote and justify the overthrow of the legitimate and constitutionally elected government of President Nicolas Maduro.
"By extending the executive order, the U.S. regime intends to present itself as a victim, when the entire world recognizes it as the great victimizer. Washington assumes aggression and has transformed the world into an increasingly insecure place, which represents a real threat to international peace and security."
Renewing the executive order, the statement continues, is a "crime of aggression punishable by international law" which seeks to encourage foreign intervention in Venezuela's affairs and sway the May 20 elections.
At the same time, Bolivian President Evo Morales posted a message on Twitter deriding the U.S. government's latest gesture against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
"The United States qualifies our sister Venezuela as a 'threat,' but with the United States' background of financing coups, addressing elections in 81 countries and killing hundreds of thousands with atomic bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the United States is the real threat to the world," Morales wrote.