The White House confirmed Saturday that H.R. McMaster, the US national security adviser, had met with Julio Borges, the president of Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly, for talks on how to resolve the issue.
They discussed “the need for the government to adhere to the Venezuelan Constitution, release political prisoners, respect the National Assembly, and hold free and democratic elections”, according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
Violent clashes between Venezuelan police and citizens have left 38 dead since March.
A statue of Hugo Chavez, the late revolutionary Venezuelan leader, was pulled down in Caracas by a group of students, who according to local media were venting their anger with food shortages, inflation and rampant crime in the South American nation.
Sarah Huckabee, a spokeswoman for President Trump, said: “Some of the acts there have been deplorable and it’s certainly something that we’re monitoring very closely.”
Masses of Venezuelan citizens have joined the protest movement since March.
The movement shows no signs of slowing, despite violent retaliation from the government.
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro announced the creation of a new popular assembly Monday, which protesters decried as an attempt to sideline the democratic process.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said: “We are deeply concerned about the Maduro government’s violent crackdown on protestors in Venezuela.
“President Maduro’s disregard for the fundamental rights of his own people has heightened the political and economic crisis in the country.
“The Maduro regime must respect Venezuela’s constitution and the voice of its people. We are particularly concerned that the government is failing to provide basic food and medical needs to the Venezuelan people.”