The Union of South American Nations (Unasur) has called for unity and dialogue to end continuing unrest in Venezuela.
Venezuelans fed up with food shortages and unchecked violence have been staging nearly daily street protests over the past month and at least 20 people have been killed in demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro.
His critics accuse his government of using excessive force against protesters. Among them, the United States, Canada and Panama, have all renewed their appeal for stronger sanctions and condemned what they call a “clear violation of human rights”.
Maduro’s administration shows no signs of crumbling, but the country appears in a stalemate. Protesters are mostly from the middle and upper classes although they do include poorer Venezuelans who do not protest in their home districts for fear of pro-government paramilitaries.