Venezuela blasts OAS as diplomats try to defuse conflict

Thousands of Venezuelans rallied in support of President Nicolas Maduro as regional governments seemed to back away from a threat to punish his administration for violating its commitment to democracy.

The head of the Organization of American States called on Tuesday for a special meeting to evaluate Maduro's jailing of critics and attempts to block the opposition-controlled congress from legislating.

On Wednesday, representatives of OAS nations met seeking to defuse the clash without taking up Secretary General Luis Almagro's proposal, which could lead to Venezuela's suspension from the Washington-based group.

Maduro has responded by threatening to go after Venezuelan congressional leaders on charges of treason. He told supporters Wednesday that the OAS is participating in an imperialist plot to steal Venezuela's oil and called Almagro a piece of trash.