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Positive Steps for Democracy in Venezuela

People register to cast their vote at a polling station during a legislative election, in Caracas, Venezuela, Dec. 6, 2015.

Elections point to the real possibility that a genuine democratic, political dialogue in Venezuela could emerge.

The citizens of Venezuela took a positive step for democracy December 6, making their voices heard in a peaceful and democratic way during congressional elections.

Positive Steps for Democracy in Venezuela
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“Venezuelan voters expressed their overwhelming desire for a change in the direction of their country,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Seventy-four percent turned out to vote, electing the opposition Democratic Unity coalition to 112 seats in the country’s 167-seat legislature and delivering a super-majority over the incumbent United Socialist Party’s 55 seats. President Nicolas Maduro conceded his party’s defeat. The new National Assembly will be sworn in January 5th. These developments all point to the real possibility that a genuine democratic, political dialogue in Venezuela could emerge. The United States encourages all members of the new government to work together.

“Dialogue among all parties in Venezuela is necessary to address the social and economic challenges facing the country, and the United States stands ready to support such a dialogue together with others in the international community,” said Secretary Kerry.

Cooperation between the National Assembly and the executive branch will be necessary to tackle economic problems, including inflation, a recession, and a shortage of basic goods. The United States believes all parties and individuals must be free to participate in addressing these challenges, and therefore reiterates its call for the release of political prisoners, said State Department Spokesperson John Kirby:

“These institutional and political conversations will be difficult when criminalization of legitimate political dissent exists. Therefore, we call on the government to release all those imprisoned for their political beliefs and activities.”

Venezuela’s problems can only be solved by Venezuelans, but the United States stands willing to support that nation and its citizens in pursuing a democratic future.

“We’d be willing to play any constructive supporting role that the various parties would find helpful,” said Spokesperson Kirby.