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Colombia’s Santos urges restoration of Venezuela’s democracy

Bogota, Feb 6 (EFE).– The Colombian President on Tuesday urged the restoration of democracy in Venezuela at a joint press conference with the US Secretary of State after their meeting in Bogota.

Juan Manuel Santos and Rex Tillerson agreed that removing Nicolas Maduro’s “dictatorial regime” was fundamental in order to restore democracy in Venezuela, which has been gripped by an economic and political crisis since 2012.

“It’s urgent to restore the democratic course in Venezuela because it’s the citizens who are suffering the consequences of a dead-in-the-water dictatorship,” the Colombian leader said.

Santos and Tillerson, who is on a Latin American tour, met at the Casa de Nariño to discuss issues bilateral and regional issues, including the anti-drug fight and the crisis in Venezuela, to whose citizens Colombia will continue “providing humanitarian assistance,” Santos said.

The Colombian leader said that he conveyed to Tillerson the concern of his government over the Venezuelan crisis and its effect on the public there, as well as the calling of presidential elections before May from which the main opposition leaders have been excluded.

Nicolas Maduro aspires to be re-elected Venezuela’s president but the opposition has not yet agreed to participate in the vote.

“Maduro would never accept … free and transparent elections because he knows he’d lose,” said Santos.

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