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Venezuela cutting off contact with U.S. diplomat, foreign minister says

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
March 21, 2013 -- Updated 0453 GMT (1253 HKT)
Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua holds a photo of Hugo Chavez during a tribute on March 13 at the U.N. in New York.
Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua holds a photo of Hugo Chavez during a tribute on March 13 at the U.N. in New York.
  • Venezuela's foreign minister says the United States is trying to interfere in elections
  • He says his government is cutting off contact with a top U.S. diplomat
  • The United States has denied recent allegations of plots to destabilize Venezuela

(CNN) -- Venezuela is cutting off contact with a top U.S. diplomat, the country's foreign minister said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said Wednesday that his country's representatives would no longer be talking about improving U.S.-Venezuela relations with Roberta Jacobson, U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs.

Jaua accused the United States of trying to interfere with Venezuela's upcoming presidential election and criticized comments Jacobson made about the April 14 vote in an interview with Spain's El Pais newspaper.

The United States has been denying a steady stream of accusations from top Venezuelan officials since President Hugo Chavez's death on March 5.

"The United States categorically rejects allegations of any U.S. government involvement in any plots to destabilize the Venezuelan government or to harm anyone in Venezuela," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Monday.

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