Venezuela's Maduro says he won't attend UN annual meeting

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro says he is skipping the United Nations' General Assembly meeting later this month in New York.

Maduro told a cheering crowd of young socialist party members Thursday that his vice president and foreign minister will go in his place.

The meeting comes near the end of a tumultuous year for Venezuela that has seen Maduro's power tested. Opposition leader Juan Guaidó has so far failed to oust Maduro with backing from the United States and 50 other nations.

Maduro didn't say why he is passing up the annual meeting of world leaders, except to tell his young followers that he is staying home to work with them.

The socialist president maintains support in Venezuela from the military and international allies including Cuba, China and Russia.