US calls for ‘or­derly tran­si­tion’ in Venezuela

Times of Oman - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON: The United States called Satur­day for Venezuela to be­gin an “or­derly tran­si­tion” to a new gov­ern­ment, days af­ter Ni­co­las Maduro was sworn in to a dis­puted sec­ond term as pres­i­dent.

“The peo­ple of Venezuela de­serve to live in free­dom in a demo­cratic so­ci­ety gov­erned by the rule of law,” the State De­part­ment’s deputy spokesman said.

“It is time to be­gin the or­derly tran­si­tion to a new gov­ern­ment,” spokesman Robert Pal­ladino said.

“The United States gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to use the full weight of US eco­nomic and diplo­matic power to press for the restora­tion of democ­racy in Venezuela,” he said.

It was the most spe­cific US call yet for a change of gov­ern­ment in cri­sis-torn Venezuela, where Maduro has presided over a vir­tual eco­nomic col­lapse in what was once Latin Amer­ica’s wealth­i­est na­tion. The United States, the Euro­pean Union, Canada and 12 Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries have said they do not rec­og­nize Maduro’s re-elec­tion.

The May pres­i­den­tial vote was boy­cotted by the op­po­si­tion — whose most prom­i­nent lead­ers were barred from run­ning, un­der house ar­rest or in ex­ile -- and con­demned in­ter­na­tion­ally amid re­ports of fraud and voter in­tim­i­da­tion.

Ac­cused

Maduro, who was sworn in Thurs­day to a sec­ond six-year term, has ac­cused Wash­ing­ton of en­cour­ag­ing a coup d’etat.

In its lat­est state­ment, the United States reaf­firmed its sup­port for the op­po­si­tion-con­trolled but so far tooth­less Na­tional As­sem­bly, whose new pres­i­dent Juan Guaido on Fri­day called for a mass protest against Maduro and in favour of a “tran­si­tional gov­ern­ment.”

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