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Trump enlists Chile in pressure campaign on Venezuela

September 28, 2018

President Trump met Friday with President Sebastian Piera of Chile, agreeing to cooperation on the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

The Trump administration has ratcheted up ancients on Venezuela’s authoritarian socialist government that presided over a dramatic economic collapse.

“Venezuela is a mess and it’s got to be cleaned up and people have to be taken care of,” Mr. Trump said at an Oval Office sit-down with Mr. Piera.

The meeting took place as Mr. Trump prepares for his first trip to Latin America in late November for the G-20 summit in Argentina.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Piera discussed critical regional security and governance matters, and reinforced the importance of strengthening freedom, democracy, respect for human rights, and good governance in the Americas, according to a joint statement from the U.S. and Chile.

The two countries also issued a call for “Venezuela’s leaders to immediately allow desperately needed international humanitarian aid into the country and to take responsible steps towards restoring democracy in Venezuela,” said the statement.

The two leaders also discussed trade. On Thursday, senior officials from the U.S. and Chile signed a framework to advance energy sector cooperation, promote investment in infrastructure, and strengthen energy security and economic prosperity.

Trade is a hot topic for Chile, which is a major trading partner with China and worried about the escalating U.S.-China trade war.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Piera reaffirmed their commitments to fair and reciprocal trade during the talks, said the White House.

“Strong trade and commerce benefit both countries and present opportunities to diversify energy infrastructure and advance cybersecurity,” said the joint statement. “Both leaders believe that a level playing field and non-discriminatory treatment is essential for successful investment.”

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