teleSUR | May 06, 2017
According to a statement by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, the National Assembly president and the White House advisor held talks about “the need for the government to adhere to the Venezuelan Constitution, release political prisoners, respect the National Assembly, and hold free and democratic elections.”
The meeting came amid opposition angst over this week’s announcement by President Nicolas Maduro calling for a national constituent assembly with the goal of easing the ongoing political tensions and supporting dialogue with the pro-U.S. opposition.
This week, Washington also passed the bipartisan Venezuela Humanitarian Assistance and Defense of Democratic Governance Act, which will provide US$10 million to Venezuela as part of a “humanitarian assistance” package that will also provide millions for “democracy promotion,” including “US$500,000 to carry out the activities … with the Organization of American States to ensure credible international observation that contributes to free, fair, and transparent democratic electoral processes in Venezuela” and “US$9,500,000 to carry out the activities … directly, or through nongovernmental organizations to defend internationally recognized human rights … support the efforts of independent media outlets … facilitate open and uncensored access to the Internet … and to combat corruption.”
Despite repeated calls by the government for peaceful dialogue and negotiations with the opposition, large protests have taken their toll on Venezuelan society, with more radical elements employing violence in efforts to force the ouster of the socialist ruling party.