US calls for international action on Venezuela′s ′tragic situation′ | News | DW | 23.06.2017
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Venezuela

US calls for international action on Venezuela's 'tragic situation'

A senior US official has accused Venezuela of trampling on "democracy" as she urged further action to redress an explosive political crisis. But Caracas has said US proposals for mediation were "completely useless."

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Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, on Thursday urged international action to address the political crisis unfolding in Venezuela after Washington-backed regional efforts failed to gain traction.

"The tragic situation in Venezuela calls out for action," Haley said in a statement following a three-day meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS). "The Venezuelan people are starving while their government tramples their democracy."

Read more: Venezuela: Grabbing the bull by the horns

At the meeting, the US-backed draft resolution to send regional mediators to Venezuela fell short of the 23 votes needed for adoption.

"The international community must act even if the UN Human Rights Council and the Organization of American States are blocked from doing so," Haley said, referring to Venezuela's membership in the council.

Since April, more than 74 people have been killed and hundreds more injured and detained during mass anti-government demonstrations.

'Useless and unnecessary'

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has attempted to quell the protests and rally support by describing them as a US-led conspiracy to dethrone him.

Outgoing Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, who stepped down from her position on Wednesday to run for a seat in Venezuela's controversial new congress, hit back at the US efforts, saying they were a direct interference in the country's internal affairs.

"The 'contact group' you're proposing is completely useless and unnecessary," Rodriguez said. "The only way you could impose it would be to send in your Marines - who would meet with a crushing response from Venezuela if they dared make such a misstep."

Amid chronic shortages of food and medicine, Maduro's support has crashed even further after announcing he would assemble a group of citizens to rewrite the constitution, a move his critics said aims to undermine the rule of law and extend his hold on power.

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ls/cmk (AP, AFP)

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