BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - US Vice President Mike Pence said in Buenos Aires on Tuesday (Aug 15) he was confident about reaching a "peaceable" solution for Venezuela through economic and diplomatic pressure on the country's president, Nicolas Maduro.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Argentina's conservative President Mauricio Macri, Pence said they had agreed in closed-door talks on the need to keep up pressure on Maduro for elections and the release of political prisoners.
As in Colombia, his first stopover on a Latin American tour, Pence's comments marked a stark contrast with US President Donald Trump's threat of military intervention in Venezuela to resolve a growing political crisis in the Opec member.
Still, Pence reiterated that Venezuela was "sliding into dictatorship and the United States would not stand by" while that happened.
Trump's threat on Friday (Aug 11) of military action in Venezuela was widely condemned across the region and sparked the Mercosur trade bloc, of which Argentina is a member, to reject any use of force.
Pence also applauded Macri's "bold reform agenda" in his remarks alongside the Argentine leader and said they had spoken of increasing two-way trade during their meeting, particularly of agricultural goods.
He said officials had spoken in the last week about expanding access of American pork to the Argentine market and had made "great progress".
"We also discussed the interest in exporting and importing beef on both sides," Pence said.