The host nation for a summit of Western Hemisphere leaders on Tuesday withdrew its invitation to Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro over his country's plan to hold an early presidential election. "Well, you will see me, because come rain or shine, be it coming over by air, land or sea, I will arrive at the summit". Hours before, the so-called Lima group, which is comprised of nations such as Argentina, Peru, Brazil and Canada, issued a rebuke of the upcoming April 22 vote, saying it "will lack all legitimacy and credibility" and demanded the date be changed.
Maduro had been among leaders invited to the Summit of the Americas, a regional gathering seen as the premier forum for projecting USA leadership in Latin America and the Caribbean.
"If the USA puts an oil embargo on us, we will take our boat and go somewhere else", Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said.
"Call a meeting, dare, don't be scared of me, President Macri", said Maduro. Cuba's foreign ministry on Thursday said it rejected Venezuela's exclusion from the summit and vowed "unshakeable solidarity" with Maduro's government.
While criticised by some world powers over Venezuela's April election call, Maduro announced on Wednesday he wants nationals living in the USA city of Miami to vote, even though there's a strong opposition presence there. They also say he refuses to acknowledge the extent of Venezuela's humanitarian suffering, so it is futile to meet with him.
Maduro, a 55 year-old former bus driver and union leader, says right-wing regional governments are part of US -led worldwide conspiracy to topple him and take control of the OPEC member's oil resources.
Maduro does have allies in Latin America. On the suggestions of right-wing governments to give up on participating in the aforementioned Summit, Maduro reiterated his presence at the government meeting and affirmed that it will be the favorable scenario to defend the truth and sovereignty of his country.
"They're the most unpopular governments on the planet", he said, naming Argentina, Colombia and Peru.
Venezuela is home to the world's biggest crude reserves. Still, even their support has cooled somewhat during a fifth straight year of recession and widespread accusations of mismanagement and corruption.