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Venezuela: US working with Mexico, Colombia to topple government

Venezuela's foreign minister doubled down Tuesday on his government's accusation that the United States is working with Mexico and Colombia to oust President Nicolás Maduro.

"Mexico and Colombia are working in concordance with the government of the United States to to topple President Maduro's democratic government," Samuel Moncada said, according to Spanish news agency EFE.

The accusations follow a statement CIA Director Mike Pompeo gave at an Aspen Institute panel Thursday.

"We are very hopeful that there can be a transition in Venezuela. The CIA is doing its best to understand the dynamic there, so that we can communicate to our State Department and to others,” Pompeo said.

"I was just down there in Mexico City and in Bogota week before last, talking about this very issue, trying to help them understand the things they might do so they can get a better outcome for their part of the world and our part of the world," he added.

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Both Mexico and Colombia issued statements denying the regime-change accusations Monday.

"Mexico is a country that's respectful of international law, that doesn't work with any country in detriment of another," read a statement released by the Mexican Foreign Relations Secretariat.

"Colombia is a country that is affected or benefits by Venezuela's destiny. Therefore, our only interest regarding the current situation that Venezuela is going through [is] a solution and a negotiated and peaceful exit to the current circumstances," the Colombian Foreign Relations Ministry said.

Moncada panned the two countries' responses in a Tuesday press call with reporters.

"And the weak excuses they presented last night rejecting without evidence, in no way discredit, by far, a piece of evidence as strong as the opinion from the very mouth of the director of the CIA, and second, the historical record of both those countries," he said.

Mexico and Venezuela butted heads last month at an Organization of American States (OAS) summit in Cancun.

Mexico presented a resolution, supported by the U.S. and other allies, criticizing Venezuela for its treatment of violent protests against the Maduro government.

That led to a war of words between Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray and then-Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez, who quit the post to run for a government seat.

The assembly is at the center of the latest stage of Venezuela's political and economic conflict; the country's economy has been in a tailspin since Maduro took power in 2013. 

Maduro called for a new constitution in May in response to weeks of street protests against his government. 

Opposition leaders called the assembly a fraud and refused to participate. 

In preparation for the OAS summit the following month, Videgaray introduced the resolution criticizing Maduro's proposed Constitutional Assembly.

Tuesday, Moncada picked up where Rodríguez left off, comparing Mexico and Colombia to the United States.

He said Mexico was using the same language as the U.S. despite tense relations with Washington over President Trump’s proposed border wall.

Colombia, said Moncada, was cooperating with the U.S. in spite of American accusations that the country is the world's biggest producer of cocaine.

Moncada also railed against the OAS Permanent Council, scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss the humanitarian situation in Venezuela.

"I warn you, that meeting at the OAS is another trigger to detonate violence in Venezuela, it always has been," he said.