CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on the political crisis in Venezuela (all times local):
The Trump administration says it will recognize the validity of Venezuelan passports for five years beyond their printed expiration dates.
The State Department announced Friday that the passports will be considered valid for visa applications and entry into the United States in recognition of a decision by the opposition-controlled National Assembly.
Opposition leader Juan Guaidó recently signed a decree extending the lifespan of Venezuelan passports. Obtaining a new passport or getting an extension is an expensive and lengthy ordeal for many Venezuelans.
Many of the estimated 4 million Venezuelans who have fled in recent years have left without a valid passport.
The United States is one of several countries now recognizing expired Venezuelan passports. Guaidó is recognized by the U.S. and over 50 other nations as Venezuela’s legitimate president
A member of Venezuela’s opposition said that a mediation effort by Norway is stalling over Nicolás Maduro’s refusal to accept presidential elections to resolve the nation’s political crisis.
The source spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the matter.
The person said opposition leader Juan Guaidó will announce the decision not to attend future meetings sponsored by Norway at a rally Friday in the central city of Valencia.
Norway has hosted two rounds of exploratory talks between representatives of the Venezuelan government and opposition over the past month. The opposition has insisted the starting point for talks is Maduro’s willingness to hold elections within a reasonable time frame.
Facilitators from Norway are in Caracas for meetings with both sides.
The number of Venezuelans who have left their country in recent years has surpassed 4 million, the United Nations said Friday ahead of a visit to the region by UNHCR envoy Angelina Jolie.
The U.N. refugee agency said the number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants rose by 1 million after November, indicating a rapid escalation as economic conditions deteriorated and a conflict between the government of President Nicolás Maduro and the opposition intensified.
Latin American countries host most Venezuelans, with more than 1.3 million in Colombia followed by 768,000 in Peru, UNHCR said.
On Friday, Jolie planned to start a two-day trip to the Colombian border with Venezuela to assess the migrant crisis caused by the country’s tumult.