US President Donald Trump's threat of military intervention in Venezuela was "an act of craziness", the South American country's Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino has said.
Venezuela's foreign ministry is expected to issue a statement today responding to Mr Trump's comment that "a possible military option" was under consideration for the crisis-racked nation.
The country is deep in a recession compounded by shortages of food and medicine, while anti-government protests have killed more than 120 people since April.
Responding to Mr Trump, Mr Padrino told state television: "It is an act of craziness. It is an act of supreme extremism. There is an extremist elite that rules the United States.
"As a soldier, I stand with the Venezuelan armed forces, and with the people.
"I am sure that we will all be on the frontlines of defending the interests and sovereignty of this beloved Venezuela," he added.
Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas called Mr Trump's remark "an unprecedented threat to national sovereignty".
In a message on Twitter last night, he said; "The diplomatic corps is summoned to the foreign ministry for tomorrow, when it will release a communique addressing the imperial threat to Venezuela."
Last month's election of a legislative superbody packed with allies of unpopular socialist President Nicolas Maduro drew international condemnation for usurping the authority of Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress.
Mr Maduro says the assembly, which has the power to re-write Venezuela's constitution, is needed to bring peace and prosperity to the oil-rich but economically ailing country.
Critics say the assembly casts aside any remaining checks on Mr Maduro's power.
The opposition boycotted the vote for the assembly, which assured that it would be stacked with Maduro allies.
The White House said Mr Trump would speak with the leader of Venezuela once democracy was restored, after it said Mr Maduro had requested a phone call with the president.
Mr Trump said yesterday he was considering military options as a response to the escalating crisis in Venezuela, describing the situation there as a "very dangerous mess".
"We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary," Mr Trump told reporters in New Jersey.
"We have troops all over the world in places that are very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and they're dying."
Mr Trump said Venezuela's ongoing crisis was among the topics discussed at talks he hosted in New Jersey with his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.
"Venezuela is a mess. It is very dangerous mess and a very sad situation," Mr Trump added.