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US Secretary of State John Kerry has been accused by Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Elias Jaua of inciting violence and “murder”.

Elias Jaua was reacting to comments by John Kerry, who accused Venezuela of waging a “terror campaign against its own people” in its response to protests.

Venezuela has repeatedly accused the US of orchestrating the unrest, which already left 28 people dead.

The US argues Venezuela is using it as a scapegoat for its domestic problems.

On national television, Elias Jaua said he was not going to “tone down” his rhetoric following John Kerry’s strong words on Thursday.

“Mr. Kerry, we denounce you before the world. You are inciting violence in Venezuela, and we will denounce it in every part of the world. We denounce you as a murderer of the Venezuelan people,” Elias Jaua said in Caracas.

“Every time we’re about to isolate and reduce the violence, out comes Mr. Kerry with a speech and immediately road blocks are reactivated in the mains spots of violence,” he added.

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Elias Jaua has accused John Kerry of inciting violence and called him a murderer

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Elias Jaua has accused John Kerry of inciting violence and called him a murderer

While US State Departments’ spokeswoman Marie Harf declined to comment on Elias Jaua’s comments, she said the Venezuelan government was “not telling the truth” about the protests.

On Thursday, John Kerry also said the Organization of American States (OAS), allies and neighbors should demand accountability of Venezuela over the protests.

“We are trying to find a way to get the [President Nicolas] Maduro government to end this terror campaign against his own people and to begin to, hopefully, respect human rights in an appropriate way,” John Kerry told a committee in the US Congress.

American legislators say they are ready to impose sanctions on the oil-rich nation, although no decision has yet been taken on the matter.

President Nicolas Maduro, however, offered his American counterpart, Barack Obama, some advice on Friday.

“Let’s hope that with two remaining years left [in his presidency], Mr. Obama doesn’t pass into history as the man who attacked Venezuela and filled it with violence,” he told foreign reporters in the presidential palace in Caracas.

Nicolas Maduro also said the destabilization of Venezuela would have “unbearable consequences” for the US, bringing about “political instability in Latin America” and thousands of people to seek refuge in the richer neighboring nation.

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Fidel Castro has appeared in public for the first time in months, refuting persistent rumors that he was gravely ill.

Staff at a top hotel in the capital, Havana, said Cuban revolutionary leader had dropped off a Venezuelan politician on Saturday.

Venezuelan ex-Vice-President Elias Jaua confirmed he had had a five-hour meeting with Fidel Castro, who is 86.

Speculation about Fidel Castro’s health has been constant since his brother Raul took over the presidency in 2006.

Elias Jaua told journalists gathered at the Hotel Nacional in Havana that Fidel Castro was “very well, very lucid”.

The Venezuelan politician, who served as vice-president until elections earlier this month, also showed a photograph of the encounter.

The last images of Fidel Castro to be made public had been from March, when the Cuban ex-leader briefly met Pope Benedict XVI during the pontiff’s visit to the Communist island.

Fidel Castro’s long absence from the public stage had fuelled rumors on social media sites that his health had deteriorated, or that he may even have died.

But Elias Jaua said the Cuban ex-leader was on good form.

“We talked for five hours about agriculture, history, international politics and, well, Fidel is doing fine,” he said.

Elias Jaua said Fidel Castro accompanied him to the Hotel Nacional after the meeting: “He had the courtesy of bringing me to the hotel.”

Hotel Director Antonio Martinez said he had found Fidel Castro “very happy, constantly smiling and talking about a lot of things”.

However, Fidel Castro did not personally cast his vote in the local elections which were held in Cuba on Sunday. Instead, he filled in his ballot paper at home, and it was delivered to a polling station on his behalf.

Fidel Castro led Cuba after the revolution in 1959, first as prime minister (1959-1976) and later as president.

In 2006, surgery took Fidel Castro out of public view. His brother Raul became acting president.

In February 2008, Fidel Castro officially handed over power to Raul who has been leading the country since then.