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Biden speaks with Venezuelan opposition leader ahead of Summit of the Americas

President Biden on Wednesday had a phone call with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó ahead of the Summit of the Americas, which Guaidó was not invited to attend in-person.

Biden reaffirmed his support for Guaidó as the country’s interim president and “expressed his support for Venezuelan-led negotiations as the best path toward a peaceful restoration of democratic institutions, free and fair elections, and respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Venezuelans,” the White House said in a readout of the call, which took place while Biden was aboard Air Force One en route to Los Angeles.

“They discussed the role the United States and other international partners can play to support a negotiated solution to Venezuela’s crisis,” the White House said. “President Biden reaffirmed the United States is willing to calibrate sanctions policy as informed by the outcomes of negotiations that empower the Venezuelan people to determine the future of their country.”

The Biden administration opted not to invite Guaidó as it snubbed the leaders of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba over concerns about human rights and democratic backsliding. That decision rankled some other leaders in the region, including Mexican Andres Manuel Lopez-Obrador, who opted not to attend the summit.

The U.S. has recognized Guaidó, the leader of the national assembly, as the interim president and rightful leader of Venezuela since 2019 as it sought to pressure President Nicolas Maduro to resign. But Maduro has remained in power and the lack of an invite for Guaidó could bolster his standing.

Source: The Hill

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