Trump and Latin American leaders to discuss pressure on Venezuela

Trump and Latin American leaders to discuss pressure on Venezuela

Trump said, as a responsible neighbor and friend, the US had a goal for the Venezuelans to recover their freedom and "restore their democracy".

"The Venezuelan people are starving", Trump said.

Trump told Latin American allies gathered on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly that President Nicolas "Maduro defied his own people" and was guilty of "disastrous rule" that may necessitate further punitive measures.

"What we all want is for Venezuela to become a democracy again and we are exerting all possible pressure to make it happen again", he added.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos reiterated President Temer's view, according to Agencia EFE, telling the USA leader that Latin America would not support any kind of military intervention in Venezuela.

Santos said discussion would focus on how best to pressure the Socialist government of Nicolás Maduro to allow a "hopefully peaceful democratic transition in Venezuela". Maduro didn't attend the meeting, but Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, who was there in his place, condemned Trump's statement.

Colombia's Santos, Brazilian President Michel Temer, Panama president Juan Carlos Varela and the vice president of Argentina, Gabriela Michetti were in attendance at the New York Palace Hotel as Trump advocated "further action" against Venezuela.

Differences over ethanol trade, open-skies aviation and illegal drug production, and even North Korea, could crop up during the discussion, but the top issue will be the Venezuelan crisis, Latin American and White House officials said.

"There is a very real danger that tensions will further escalate, with the government crushing democratic institutions and critical voices", Hussein told the United Nations. That powerful new assembly has tried to wrest power from the internationally recognized legislative branch, the National Assembly. But suffering is widespread in the oil-rich country of 32 million, with triple-digit inflation, rampant hunger and soaring crime rates.

Maduro faced worldwide condemnation for the methods he has used to neutralize political opponents. Venezuela is a major oil producer and supplies 10% of the oil consumed by the U.S.

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