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    A demonstrator holds up a miniature copy of Venezuela's constitution in front of the nation's flag at a government rally in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, April 13, 2004.

    OAS Calls on Venezuela to Release Political Prisoners

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    Members of the Organization of American States urge Venezuela to release political prisoners and present an election timetable.

    MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – Members of the Organization of American States (OAS, or OEA) have issued a joint declaration calling on Venezuela to release political prisoners and present an election timetable, the Mexican Foreign Ministry announced in a statement.

    "We consider it urgent that priority be given to the release of political prisoners … and to establish an electoral calendar," the ministry said in a press statement on Thursday.

    Mexico, as well as the United States, Canada and Brazil, are among the states that signed the OAS declaration. Venezuela’s allies that are members of the organization, such as Bolivia and Ecuador, did not sign the document.

    OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro Lemes has called for the expulsion of Venezuela from the organization, if Venezuelan authorities fail to hold general elections in the near future under independent international monitoring.

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declared an economic emergency in Venezuela in January 2016. The country’s opposition has blamed Maduro for the economic crisis in the country, which has seen multiple mass protests amid shortages of food, goods and services.

    Earlier this month, the Venezuelan government extended the economic emergency in the country.

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