Venezuela's No. 2 chides new Argentina leader for 'offense'

CARACAS: Venezuela's second most powerful official rebuked Argentine President-Elect Mauricio Macri on Wednesday for "offending" a brother nation by calling for his country's suspension from a regional trade bloc over rights accusations.

The win by conservative Macri on Sunday was a disappointment to Venezuela's ruling Socialists. He used his first news conference afterwards to reiterate his position that President Nicolas Maduro's government should exit Mercosur.

"Mr. Macri won the elections, and he suddenly thought he'd won the elections in Venezuela," satirized Diosdado Cabello, head of Venezuela's National Assembly and vice-president of the Socialist Party, on his weekly TV program.

"It's sad, no? Someone wins an election and the first thing he does is offend and try to hurt a brother people ... Leave the Venezuelan people alone, don't mess with us ... You have too much work in Argentina to bother with Venezuela's affairs."

Macri has said Venezuela should be suspended from the trade bloc because of accusations of rights abuses including the jailing of political opponents.

Venezuela's opposition hailed his victory as a blow for leftists in Latin America and a good omen for their own duel with the Socialist Party in an upcoming Dec. 6 legislative vote.