Maduro demands retraction

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has lashed out at Washington’s U.N. ambassador-designate for what he called her “despicable” criticism of his government’s human rights record.

Maduro demanded Thursday evening that the United States retract Samantha Power’s statement that Venezuela, along with Cuban, Iran and Russia, is guilty of a “crackdown on civil society.”

Power spoke Wednesday during confirmation hearings before a U.S. Senate committee.

Hopes were raised for improved U.S.-Venezuelan ties in June when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua met on the sidelines of a regional summit and agreed to fast-track talks for resuming ambassadorial-level ties absent since 2010.

But prospects dimmed after Maduro later offered asylum to U.S. leaker Edward Snowden.

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