Venezuela seeks to block OAS meeting, vows 'severe’ response

Venezuela called on Monday for the suspension of an Organization of American States (OAS) meeting intended to air regional concerns over the OPEC nation's economic crisis and democratic standards.

The Washington-based OAS is due to debate Venezuela on Tuesday after its secretary-general, Luis Almagro, said the country should be suspended from the regional bloc if it does not hold elections.

"If this illegal, unilateral, deviant and biased behavior in favor of violent extremists in Venezuela continues, we will proceed with severity and firmness," the statement read.

Visiting the OAS on the eve of the debate, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez lashed out at Almagro and accused him of a campaign to destroy Venezuela.

"He lacks independence when he voluntarily bows to the wishes of the most powerful nation of this organization and becomes its spokesman," she told the OAS permanent council, saying Almagro was obsessed with denigrating Venezuela. "Almagro has used 21 percent of his tweets - one in every five - for his campaign against Venezuela."