ESPACIO PUBLICITARIO
CARACAS, Saturday February 22, 2014 | Update
 
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John Kerry slams Venezuela's gov't over "unacceptable" use of force

"The government's use of force and judicial intimidation against citizens and political figures, who are exercising a legitimate right to protest, is unacceptable and will only increase the likelihood of violence," said US Secretary of State in a statement

EL UNIVERSAL
Saturday February 22, 2014  10:17 AM
US Secretary of State John Kerry harshly condemned on Friday the "unacceptable" use of force by the Government of Venezuela against the opposition demonstrations. He would not reply to President Nicolás Maduro's proposal to launch bilateral talks.

"The government's use of force and judicial intimidation against citizens and political figures, who are exercising a legitimate right to protest, is unacceptable and will only increase the likelihood of violence," said the US secretary of state in a statement, AFP reported.

According to Kerry, despite calls from the opposition and the international community, the Government of Nicolás Maduro "has confronted peaceful protesters with force and in some cases armed vigilantes claiming to support the regime."

"It (the Venezuelan government) has imprisoned students and a key opposition figure," said Kerry, in reference to opposition leader Leopoldo López. "It has limited the freedoms of expression and assembly necessary for legitimate political debate," he added.

Kerry criticized the Venezuelan government's "restrictions on the press." His comments came after US TV network CNN reported that journalists working in Venezuela had their press credentials revoked by the government.

"This is not how democracies behave," Kerry admonished.

The US secretary of state urged the Venezuelan Government to release all detainees and initiate a genuine process of dialogue with the democratic opposition.

"The solution to Venezuela's problems can only be found through dialogue with all Venezuelans, engaging in a free exchange of opinions in a climate of mutual respect," said Kerry, who also called for calm among dissenters.

The top US diplomat would not say anything about Maduro's proposal to launch Caracas-Washington talks in order to improve strained relations and exchange ambassadors.

Maduro has accused Washington of fomenting anti-government unrest in Venezuela for almost three weeks now, with dozen injured and nine dead.
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