US denounces Venezuela decision to hold presidential elections

The US has denounced the decision by Venezuela’s National Electoral Council to unilaterally advance presidential elections, saying the Maduro government made no guarantees to ensure free, fair, and internationally-validated elections.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro

“These elections do not have the agreement of all political parties and limit the ability of individuals to run in the election. By denying participation in the electoral process, the Maduro regime continues to dismantle Venezuela’s democracy and reveals its authoritarian rule,” said US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert in a statement.

“We support the decision by opposition parties to reject the regime’s terms for elections that would not be free and fair. The Venezuelan government’s unwillingness to negotiate in good faith prevents an agreement to achieve credible elections,” Nauert said. “It is unfortunate the Maduro regime is not courageous enough to contest elections on a level playing field.”

Secretary Rex Tillerson, in his travel to Latin America and the Caribbean, expressed support of the Venezuelan people and their sovereign right to have their votes counted in free, fair, and transparent elections.

“We will continue to pressure the regime to restore the integrity of the Venezuelan constitution,” said the Department of State.

The Maduro administration of Venezuela has set the elections to April 22.

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