Cuba denies stoking Latin American social unrest

Cuba's foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez, pictured in September, described accusations of meddling as malicious (AFP Photo/YAMIL LAGE)

Havana (AFP) - Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez denied Friday that the country is behind recent social unrest in Latin America and rejected US allegations that it is supporting Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro.

"Maliciously people are accusing Cuba of being behind what is happening in Venezuela and the recent popular protests against the pitiless neoliberalism that's advancing in this region," said Rodriguez at an event in Havana, called the Anti-imperialist Meeting.

Washington has accused the Caribbean island nation of providing military support to help prop up the government of socialist leader Maduro.

The US is backing his rival Juan Guaido's claims to be the South American country's interim leader.

"The United States needs to blame Cuba for its resounding failure in Venezuela, and needs to justify the tightening of its blockade" against the islands, added Rodriguez at the meeting that brings together various international leftist coalitions.

Last week, Luis Almagro, the Organization of American States' secretary general, hit out at a "pattern" of destabilization emanating from Venezuela and Cuba, and aimed at Colombia, Ecuador and Chile.

Last month, protests against the government broke out in Ecuador and Chile.

On Thursday, US President Donald Trump "denounced foreign efforts to undermine Chilean institutions, democracy or society," in a phone call to Chile counterpart Sebastian Pinera.

A senior State Department official blamed Russia for stoking the unrest, a charge Moscow rejected.

Rodriguez said Cuba has no involvement in Latin American protests beyond "the example of the Cuban revolution, as Che Guevara said."