An international security conference in Venezuela has been cancelled after the country’s top security official called for a national curfew.
The National Security Council (CNS) on Thursday ordered the postponement of a meeting between Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and US President Donald Trump, citing safety concerns.
The government says that Maduro has been under surveillance by US intelligence services and that the meeting will be canceled, and the National Guard has been deployed to the city of Quito to ensure security.
In a statement on Twitter, Maduro said the US administration was interfering in his government and that it was “the worst violation of sovereignty since the Cuban Revolution.”
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said that Maduro’s refusal to attend the summit would have an adverse effect on bilateral relations and that his government “has already made a decision to cancel the meeting.”
She said that the US “has not asked for the meeting to be postponed.”
The Venezuelan government has repeatedly denied any interference in its internal affairs, and Maduro’s administration has also denied accusations that it is seeking to oust Maduro and replace him with a more pro-Western government.
The Venezuelan embassy in Washington issued a statement Friday saying that it does not “understand the US decision” to cancel a meeting.
The cancellation is not linked to the threat posed by the deadly attack on the US diplomatic mission in the Venezuelan capital, but comes as Venezuela is trying to revive economic growth and combat the spread of the virus.
Venezuela has been on edge over the virus, which has caused an outbreak of severe birth defects among children, leading to thousands of deaths.
The US has said that a few US citizens who came into contact with Venezuelan citizens infected with the virus should be tested for the virus in the United States.
The White House says it will meet on Sunday with the Maduro administration to discuss how to help the Venezuelan people, who are in the middle of a humanitarian crisis.