Trump adviser meets with Venezuelan legislative chief amid crisis
President Trump’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster met with the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly at the White House on Saturday as the embattled South American country faces mounting social and economic turmoil.
The meeting with National Assembly President Julio Borges centered on Venezuela’s ongoing constitutional crisis and repression of dissidents and political prisoners, according to a readout provided by the White House.
“They discussed the ongoing crisis in Venezuela and 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 readout said.
“They agreed that there is a strong need to bring the crisis to a quick and peaceful conclusion,” it continued.
The South American country has seen a wave of upheaval in recent weeks as hundreds of thousands of protesters take to the streets, outraged over hyper-inflation and crushing food and medicine shortages.
Inflation hit 800 percent in 2016, and the International Monetary Fund estimates that it could go as high as 2,200 percent by the end of the year.
Also an issue of outrage for protesters is a recent decision by the country’s Supreme Court to strip the National Assembly of its power. The move was widely seen as an effort to consolidate power for President Nicolas Maduro.
The Supreme Court reversed parts of that decision amid mounting protests.
Maduro said earlier this week that he would convene an assembly to rewrite the country’s constitution in an effort to calm the massive protests. But that call has been viewed with suspicion, if not outright hostility, by his critics, who see it as a way for the embattled president to solidify his rule and do away sidestep elections.
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