Cuba has denied U.S. accusations that it has military troops in Venezuela

Cuba has denied U.S. accusations that it has military troops in Venezuela, saying those allegations serve to justify new punitive economic measures against the island.

“There are no security forces from Cuba in Venezuela. Our country doesn’t participate with troops or military operations. We can’t withdraw security forces that are not existent from that country,” said Johana Tablada, deputy director of U.S. affairs at Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In statements to local media, the official said recent threats by U.S. President Donald Trump to intensify its economic embargo against the Caribbean nation are “disrespectful” and “cruel”.

On Tuesday, Trump said if Cuban troops and militia do not cease military or other operations in Venezuela, the White House will enact a full and complete embargo against the island, together with highest-level sanctions.

Tablada denounced that the real reason why Washington accuses Havana without evidence is to cover up the “failure” of its policy towards Caracas which openly seeks to replace Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro by force.

The most recent example, said the Cuban diplomat, is the failed coup d’etat on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Juan Guaido, who had proclaimed himself as Venezuela’s interim president, reportedly called on the Venezuelan people and military to take to the streets to overthrow Maduro.

In a televised address on Tuesday night, Maduro declared that the “coup” had been defeated.

U.S.-Cuban relations have plummeted since Trump became president, partially rolling back the detente initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama, while maintaining re-established diplomatic ties.