April 9, 2017 / 8:06 PM / 2 years ago

Mexican government condemns violence in Venezuela

A demonstrator builds a fire on the street during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela, April 8, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s government on Sunday condemned the acts of violence that have taken place in Venezuela in recent days, which damaged public buildings and the offices of banned opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

“Mexico calls on all parties to refrain from resorting to violence or provocation and resolve their differences through peaceful means,” the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.

Protesters clashed with security forces during protests in Venezuela on Saturday after a ban on Capriles breathed life into a fractured movement and fueled the first sustained anti-government demonstrations since 2014.

Capriles, a two-time presidential candidate and current Miranda state governor, on Saturday said his headquarters in Caracas had caught fire after tear gas was thrown inside. He was seen by many as the opposition’s best chance in the presidential election scheduled for 2018, but on Friday was banned from holding political office for 15 years.

Mexico’s foreign ministry underscored the “importance of achieving in the short term a national political accord that will allow Venezuelans to recover democratic normalcy.”

Earlier this week, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto received leading Venezuelan opposition activist Lilian Tintori, the wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, in a policy shift that reflects Mexico’s increasing assertiveness against the government of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.

Mexico’s position reflects deep concern about the humanitarian crisis caused by food and medicine shortages in Venezuela, as well as the Supreme Court’s recent short-lived decision to take over the powers of the country’s opposition-controlled Congress.

Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Sandra Maler

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