HAVANA, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Cuba on Thursday denounced attempts to exclude Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from attending the upcoming Summit of the Americas, to be held in Peru in April.
"Cuba energetically rejects" the move by the so-called Lima Group of Latin American countries whose governments are critical of the Venezuelan leader, the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in a statement published by the daily Granma.
Cuba said the group's announcement on Tuesday seeking to disinvite Maduro from the gathering of regional leaders "constitutes unacceptable meddling in the internal affairs of ... Venezuela," just weeks before the country is set to hold presidential elections.
Following Tuesday's meeting of foreign ministers from group members Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Santa Lucia, Peru announced it would withdraw Maduro's summit invitation.
A day later, the U.S. State Department endorsed Peru's decision, as well as the group's rejection of what it described as the Venezuelan government's "unilateral" decision to set a date for presidential elections, to be held on April 22.
Maduro's government was in the process of negotiating an election date with the right-wing opposition, which suddenly withdrew from the talks following U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to the region.
Also Thursday, Maduro confirmed he will be attending the summit of regional leaders to publicize "the truth about Venezuela."
The 8th Summit of the Americas, organized by the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS), is to take place April 13 and 14.