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US meets Venezuelan officials to express concerns over electoral process

REUTERS
Sunday, Apr 14, 2024

WASHINGTON:U.S. officials met representatives of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Mexico this week to express concerns about Venezuela’s electoral process, a White House official said on Friday.

The secret meeting was held as an April 18 deadline approached for the United States to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry in response to what Washington sees as Maduro’s failure to make good on commitments for free and fair elections later this year.

The Biden administration has vowed to reinstate oil sanctions that it suspended in October unless Maduro makes progress on meeting his promises for the July 28 presidential election.

His government has set up major obstacles to participation by the opposition, including barring its leading candidate, Maria Corina Machado, from running against Maduro.

“The purpose was to express our concerns about Venezuela’s electoral process,” a White House National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson said of the meeting.

Venezuela’s government, however, issued a separate statement saying the meeting had discussed migration and lifting sanctions, saying the U.S. was not complying with its commitments in this area.