OAS nations urge Venezuela on elections, release of political prisoners

A group of 14 nations on Thursday urged Venezuela to hold postponed elections and release "political prisoners," in a joint statement that kept open the option of seeking to suspend the South American country from the Organization of American States (OAS).

The statement, which Mexico's Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said was aimed at encouraging Venezuela to "re-establish democracy," called for dialogue and negotiation to resolve a crisis in the oil-exporting country, and urged Venezuela to recognize the legitimacy of the country's National Assembly, which has been defanged by Maduro's government since the opposition won a majority in 2015.

"We reiterate that inclusive and effective dialogue is the right path to achieve lasting solutions to the challenges faced by the Venezuelan people," the statement said.

Mexico's decision to openly take a stance on the situation in Venezuela is a shift from a usual preference by Latin America's second-largest economy not to interfere in other countries' affairs.

"We should not continue to be indifferent, we cannot continue to be indifferent," Videgaray said earlier on Thursday, emphasizing that Mexico would respect Venezuela's sovereignty and act according to international law and in agreement with the countries of the Americas.

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