Venezuela has dared the US to “send in the Marines” after Washington tries to initiate a regional plan over the crisis in the country.
On Tuesday, US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan attempted to garner support at an Organization of American States (OAS) meeting for a mission of mediators to be sent to Venezuela.
"The 'contact group' you're proposing is completely useless and unnecessary," said Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez at the meeting which was held in Mexico’s Cancun.
"The only way you could impose it would be to send in your Marines -- who would meet with a crushing response from Venezuela if they dared make such a misstep," she added.
The exchange came a day after OAS foreign ministers failed to agree on a joint response to the situation in Venezuela, with a US proposed draft resolution falling shy of the three votes out of the required 23.
The US is now attempting to push the resolution’s passing in an upcoming OAS General Assembly which has a lower vote threshold.
Venezuela has on multiple occasions noted that it will not respect decisions made by the OAS - an organization which it is set to leave.
Venezuela has been the scene of anti-government protests for more than two months. Clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters have left over 74 people dead and over 1,300 wounded.
The unrest broke out after the Supreme Court stripped the opposition-controlled parliament of its powers. The decision was later revoked, but protesters continued to take to the streets across the country against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Military commanders removed
Meanwhile, Maduro on Tuesday removed four top military commanders, including the head of a police force that is accused of attacking anti-government protesters during months of deadly unrest.
The commander of the National Guard military police, General Antonio Benavides Torres, will move on to “new responsibilities and battles,” Maduro told supporters in a speech.
He said he was also replacing the heads of the army, navy, and the central strategic command body.