Opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro demonstrate with a Venezuelan national flag in front of the police in Caracas on January 24, 2015. With Venezuela's economy in crisis, President Nicolas Maduro announced earlier this week, a 15-percent hike in the minimum wage, and plans to keep a multi-tiered exchange rate system in place. AFP PHOTO/FEDERICO PARRA

Reuters Africa is reporting leaders of Caribbean countries are set to arrive in Cuba on Friday to attend a regional summit where Venezuela’s embattled, socialist government will seek support as opposition at home and abroad intensifies. The author writes:

VENEZUELA-OPPOSITION-DEMO
Opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro demonstrate with a Venezuelan national flag in front of the police in Caracas on January 24, 2015. With Venezuela’s economy in crisis, President Nicolas Maduro announced earlier this week, a 15-percent hike in the minimum wage, and plans to keep a multi-tiered exchange rate system in place. AFP PHOTO/FEDERICO PARRA

“The summit comes days after the head of the Organization of American States called an urgent meeting to discuss whether Venezuela was violating democratic norms, paving the way for a vote that could suspend it from the body.

A majority of the 25 states that are members of the Association of Caribbean States, or ACS, receive subsidized fuel from Venezuela under its Petrocaribe oil program that Caracas uses to wield influence in the region.

‘Venezuela will denounce to the ACS the most recent aggression carried out by the general secretary of the OAS, Luis Almagro,’ Venezuela’s ambassador to Cuba, Alí Rodríguez, was quoted as saying in local media.

Venezuela’s government is facing an opposition push at home for a referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro as well as a shift throughout Latin America away from leftist populism to more conservative policies.

Venezuela, Communist-ruled Cuba and other leftist allies like Bolivia have railed against “imperialist” efforts to regain control over the region.”

U.S. President Barack Obama attended the 2015 Caribbean Summit and attempted to “reassert”  U.S. leadership in the region, after launching an energy initiative looking to wean U.S. oil consumption off cut-rate Venezuelan oil.

Read more at Reuters.

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