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Aug. 12, 2022

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Biden officials travel to Venezuela for second round of talks on ‘welfare and safety’ of Americans

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WASHINGTON — Senior officials in the Biden administration traveled to Caracas on Monday to discuss “the welfare and safety of U.S. nationals in Venezuela,” a State Department official told the Miami Herald.

The visit by Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens and Ambassador Jimmy Story was the second visit of its kind since March, when they secured the release of two U.S. citizens detained by Venezuelan authorities.

Eight U.S. citizens remain imprisoned in Venezuela, and their families have called on the Biden administration to prioritize their release. President Joe Biden has said he is willing to engage the country’s autocratic leader, Nicolás Maduro, in further talks over their freedom.

The Biden administration is also trying to encourage the Venezuelan government to dialogue with its democratic opposition, offering some sanctions relief in recent weeks and signaling more may come if talks progress. The White House hopes to create new diplomatic conditions that could lead to a resumption of Venezuelan oil imports.

It is unclear whether Juan Gonzalez, director of Western Hemisphere affairs at the White House, traveled with Carstens and Story, as he did in March.

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