By Rachel Stoltzfoos, DCNF
President Trump refused to take a phone call from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Friday, and said he will not speak with the socialist leader until “democracy is restored in that country.”
“Since the start of this Administration, President Trump has asked that Maduro respect Venezuela’s constitution, hold free and fair elections, release political prisoners, cease all human rights violations, and stop oppressing Venezuela’s great people,” the White House said in a statement on the requested phone call. “The Maduro regime has refused to heed this call, which has been echoed around the region and the world. Instead Maduro has chosen the path of dictatorship.
“The United States stands with the people of Venezuela in the face of their continued oppression by the Maduro regime,” the statement continued. “President Trump will gladly speak with the leader of Venezuela as soon as democracy is restored in that country.”
The Trump administration has sanctioned more than 30 of Maduro’s loyalists since April.
Venezuela is in a state of turmoil as Maduro’s party moves to strengthen its grip on power. Inflation is soaring and basic necessities are hard to come by under his rule.
Last weekend a group of civilians and army officers raided a military base and seized a cache of weapons, heightening concerns the country is headed for out and out civil war. The government has formed a new legislative body with the authority to rewrite the country’s constitution, disheartening those who are seeking a means of effective peaceful resistance.
“Mr. Donald Trump, here is my hand,” Maduro said Thursday, offering to meet with the president.
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