Pence calls for release of Americans held in Venezuela

Vice President Mike Pence called on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to immediately release six American oil executives who have been jailed for more than a year without trial, but he acknowledged, practically in the same breath, that their freedom will be slow to come as long as Maduro remains in power. The U.S. is among scores of countries that contend Maduro's election last year was illegitimate and that support opposition leader Juan Guaido's claim to the presidency. The U.S. has imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela in an attempt to force Maduro to step down, but he so far has maintained his hold on power while accusing the U.S. of attempting to overthrow him. "The United States today calls for the immediate release of these six individuals," Pence said at a White House meeting with relatives of those who have been held for nearly 18 months while the Venezuelan government has postponed multiple court hearings in the case.

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