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Kerry threatens Venezuela with economic sanctions

At issue is the jailing of political opponents of Venezuelan President Nicloas Maduro.

By Ed AdamcZyk
Kerry threatens Venezuela with economic sanctions
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry UPI/Andrew Harrer/Pool | License Photo

MEXICO CITY , May 22 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry accused the Venezuelan government of not negotiating in good faith with political rivals, and warned of economic sanctions by Washington. In Mexico City, Kerry spoke of the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, saying Venezuela needs to "honor the dialogue process and to restore the civil liberties of opposition leaders who have been unjustly imprisoned."

The rising political crisis in Venezuela is an increasing concern for American and Latin American diplomats. Talks between Maduro and opposition leaders have been mediated by foreign ministers and by Catholic Church representatives, but the opposition announced last week dialogue would be postponed, blaming a lack of progress and suspecting the government's sincerity.

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In U.S. Congress, Sen. Robert Menendez D,N.J. and Sen. Marco Rubio R,Fla. have led efforts to impose sanctions on Venezuela. Menendez has called on the U.S. government to act while Maduro was going to "dangerous extremes to silence political dissent."

"Our hope is that sanctions will not be necessary," Kerry said in Mexico City. "The Congress of the united States is discussing these issues. They have already passed some legislation reflecting that attitude."

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In Caracas, Maduro accused Washington of meddling in Venezuela's internal affairs, saying, "I reject, I detest the interference of these right-wing sectors of the United States."

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