June 28, 2018 / 1:02 AM / 4 months ago

Venezuela's Maduro calls Pence a 'poisonous viper'

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday called U.S. Vice President Mike Pence a “viper” and vowed to defeat what he called Washington’s attempts to force him from power.

‪FILE PHOTO: Vice President Mike Pence‬ listens during a working lunch with governors and U.S. President Donald Trump in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Pence, who arrived in Ecuador on Wednesday as part of a tour of South America, is seeking to boost regional pressure on Venezuela following Maduro’s reelection in May in a vote that the United States said was fraudulent.

FILE PHOTO: Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting with members of the Venezuela's United Socialist Party (PSUV) in Caracas, Venezuela June 4, 2018. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS

“Every time the poisonous viper Mike Pence opens his mouth, I feel stronger,” the socialist leader said in a televised speech. “We have defeated you and we are going to defeat (you) wherever you are.”

Maduro insists that the United States is seeking to overthrow his government in order to seize the OPEC nation’s oil and mineral wealth, and accuses Washington of leading an “economic war” against the country.

U.S. President Donald Trump has imposed economic sanctions on Maduro and members of his cabinet on accusations they are undermining democracy and violating human rights.

Reporting by Fabian Andres Cambero; writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Leslie Adler

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