Refusing accusations against Vice-president Biden

Extract from the Daily Press Briefing on February 2, 2015

Jen Psaki
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC

QUESTION: Venezuela.

MS. PSAKI: Venezuela, mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Yesterday, President Maduro said on national television that the United States is plotting to overthrow him; mentioned specifically a meeting with Vice President Biden last week with different prime ministers and heads of state in Washington and the question of energy that he mentioned, that Venezuela would be – the government of Maduro will be overthrown.

MS. PSAKI: Well, these allegations are baseless and false. Such allegations distract from Venezuela’s own actions by blaming the United States or other members of the international community for events inside Venezuela. The Venezuelan Government should focus on the legitimate grievances of its people, which include repeated violations of the freedom of speech – of freedom of speech and assembly as well as due process under the law.

Any more on Venezuela before we continue?

QUESTION: Well, I just have one on this. I mean, is it not the case that the energy security event – the Caribbean energy security event that was held in this building last – a week or ten days ago —

MS. PSAKI: January 26th, yeah.

QUESTION: — right – and which was – the Vice President addressed – was it the entire idea of that conference to blunt the dependence of Caribbean countries on Venezuelan oil, meaning that Venezuela would – if the conference goals were successful, these other Caribbean – these Caribbean countries would buy less oil from Venezuela? Is that not correct?

MS. PSAKI: Well, the goal of the conference – which you’re right, the Vice President did speak at – was to promote the region’s economic prosperity and energy independence.

QUESTION: Right. Well, that’s one way to —

MS. PSAKI: I think we’re talking about —

QUESTION: That’s one way to put it.

MS. PSAKI: We’re talking about Maduro accusing the Vice President of plotting to overthrow him, which obviously is a ludicrous and inaccurate accusation.

QUESTION: Right. But wouldn’t the way the Venezuelan economy works or doesn’t work mean that if the United States is successful in getting Caribbean countries to diversify their energy supply, that Venezuela would hurt – it would hurt Venezuela?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think my point is that Venezuela needs to take a look at their own governing instead of throwing accusations at the Vice President of the United States.