WASHINGTON, D.C. – A clear victory for Venezuela’s opposition in weekend elections showed that voters had an “overwhelming desire for a change,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday, calling for dialogue in the oil-rich, cash-poor country.
“The United States congratulates the people of Venezuela for making their voices heard in a peaceful and democratic way on election day,” Kerry said in a statement. “Venezuelan voters expressed their overwhelming desire for a change in the direction of their country. Dialogue among all parties in Venezuela is necessary to address the social and economic challenges facing the country.”
Kerry also said the United States — which has fraught ties with the governments of leftist Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro — stood at the ready to support the process “together with others in the international community.”
Venezuela’s opposition won control of the National Assembly in Sunday’s poll from Maduro’s PSUV party. It is the first time in 16 years that the PSUV will not control the National Assembly.
Maduro conceded defeat and called for “coexistence” between the opposition and his party, as Venezuela struggles in the throes of an economic crisis, with shortages of basic foods and supplies.
The U.S. secretary of state urged authorities to “continue to tabulate and publish voting results in a timely and transparent fashion.”