World

Weekend visit to Venezuela by 3 conservative former Latin American presidents riles up Maduro

  • A supporter holding a picture of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro yells as she listens to Maduro's speech during a rally to commemorate the end of Marcos Perez Jimenez's dictatorship 57 years ago, in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. President Maduro spoke against the planned visit by the ex-presidents, Andres Pastrana of Colombia, Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Sebastian Pinera of Chile, saying that the three men are coming to Venezuela to support a right wing coup against the government. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

    A supporter holding a picture of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro yells as she listens to Maduro's speech during a rally to commemorate the end of Marcos Perez Jimenez's dictatorship 57 years ago, in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. President Maduro spoke against the planned visit by the ex-presidents, Andres Pastrana of Colombia, Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Sebastian Pinera of Chile, saying that the three men are coming to Venezuela to support a right wing coup against the government. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)  (The Associated Press)

  • Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro waves to his supporters during a rally to commemorate the end of Marcos Perez Jimenez's dictatorship 57 years ago, in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. President Maduro spoke against the planned visit by the ex-presidents, Andres Pastrana of Colombia, Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Sebastian Pinera of Chile, saying that the three men are coming to Venezuela to support a right wing coup against the government. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

    Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro waves to his supporters during a rally to commemorate the end of Marcos Perez Jimenez's dictatorship 57 years ago, in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. President Maduro spoke against the planned visit by the ex-presidents, Andres Pastrana of Colombia, Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Sebastian Pinera of Chile, saying that the three men are coming to Venezuela to support a right wing coup against the government. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)  (The Associated Press)

  • Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks to supporters during a rally to commemorate the end of Marcos Perez Jimenez's dictatorship 57 years ago, in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. President Maduro spoke against the planned visit by the ex-presidents, Andres Pastrana of Colombia, Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Sebastian Pinera of Chile, saying that the three men are coming to Venezuela to support a right wing coup against the government. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

    Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks to supporters during a rally to commemorate the end of Marcos Perez Jimenez's dictatorship 57 years ago, in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. President Maduro spoke against the planned visit by the ex-presidents, Andres Pastrana of Colombia, Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Sebastian Pinera of Chile, saying that the three men are coming to Venezuela to support a right wing coup against the government. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)  (The Associated Press)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is criticizing a weekend visit by former leaders of Mexico, Chile and Colombia, accusing them of inadvertently lending support to extremist groups trying to oust him from power.

Felipe Calderon of Mexico, Sebastian Pinera of Chile and Andres Pastrana of Colombia are expected to participate in a pro-democracy symposium organized by Maduro's opponents. They're also expected to try to visit jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.

Maduro is struggling to rebuild Venezuela's oil-dependent economy amid spiraling inflation and widespread shortages, and he said at a rally Thursday that the three conservative former presidents would have "blood on their hands" for backing for his opponents.

He accused Calderon of ties with drug traffickers and called Pinera a supporter of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.