Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is calling upon Latin America not to give in to ''brutal pressure'' from the US to isolate his government, which is battling intensifying opposition. Nathan Frandino reports.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro walked into the Caribbean Summit Saturday with one issue on his mind: defending his country against pressure from the United States. He's facing intensifying opposition at home and abroad, and he used the summit to demand respect. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT, NICOLAS MADURO, SAYING: "These are not times for intervention, nor interference. It's the time for respect. Venezuela demands respect for its sovereignty, its right for self-determination and to decide our own political, economic and social system that corresponds to our constitution and our social life." Venezuela is in an economic crisis with food and medicine shortages, spiraling inflation and sporadic looting, all of which have led to growing calls for a referendum. Maduro has denounced this as part of an undercover U.S.-backed coup against his socialist government. At the summit, he received "unconditional solidarity" from his long-time ally, Cuban President Raul Castro... who called on the other governments to stand united. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CUBAN PRESIDENT, RAUL CASTRO, SAYING: "We can't remain indifferent before this turbulence in Latin America and the Caribbean, which is a consequence of an imperialist and oligarchic counteroffensive against popular and progressive governments." Maduro assured the leaders there that he would overcome the problems at home, and that his victory would offer lessons to go down in history.