Top US diplomat expected to meet Venezuela leader

AP News
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Posted: Jun 22, 2016 9:59 AM
Top US diplomat expected to meet Venezuela leader

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A senior U.S. diplomat is expected to meet with President Nicolas Maduro during a visit to Venezuela meant to help jumpstart dialogue with the socialist-run nation that faces mounting political strife and economic hardship.

Thomas Shannon, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, held a round of meeting Tuesday with members of Venezuela's opposition.

The planned meeting with Maduro comes a day before a scheduled session at the Organization of American States where regional governments will debate a proposed diplomatic intervention to ease tensions.

The opposition is pushing for a recall referendum this year to cut short Maduro's term and trigger new elections. But the government has been adamant it won't yield to outside pressure even in the wake of deadly food riots this month that have Venezuelans on edge.