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United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks to reporters after a Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 at U.N. headquarters. The United Nations and the Arab League on Thursday issued a joint statement in support of the establishment of a Palestinian state. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

US officials responded to escalating violence in Venezuela as the death toll tops 30


As the death toll in Venezuela continues to climb due to strife among government officials and opposition leaders, top U.S. officials on Saturday addressed the violence in the South American country.

Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued a statement saying the United States is "deeply concerned" about escalating violence in Venezuela and attributed blame to President Maduro. 

The statement continued, "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."

Haley also addressed the conditions of Venezuela's political prisoners as well as the state of the cells themselves, where overcrowding and violence remain starkly prevalent. In fact, according to Amnesty International, the number of prisoners exceeded prison capacity by 190 percent in the first half of the year. 

The former South Carolina governor also highlighted Maduro's fervent opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, whom has been jailed since 2014. 

We call on the Venezuelan government to immediately release all those unjustly detained
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley

US officials responded to escalating violence in Venezuela as the death toll tops 30

WATCH | Venezuela state TV released a video of Lopez last Wednesday as proof of life.

One day after Haley addressed the escalating political and economic crisis in Venezuela, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster held a call with Venezuelan National Assembly President Julio Borges. According to a readout of the call, the two discussed the ongoing conflict in the country as well as the need for the government "to adhere to the Venezuelan Constitution, release political prisoners, respect the National Assembly, and hold free and democratic elections."

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