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White House Addresses Recent US-Venezuela Meeting, Local Elected Officials Blast Biden Administration

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - On Tuesday afternoon, a White House official addressed a controversial recent meeting between a US delegation that traveled to Caracas, Venezuela to meet with indicted leader Nicolas Maduro.

"Our first priority was bringing home Americans who have been detained in Venezuela. Thanks to the tireless work of our diplomats, we did exactly that."

"While that discussion happened on a separate track, there was also a discussion on a range of issues, including our approach in the Western Hemisphere and the fight for freedom and democracy for the Venezuelan people."

"Maduro has committed to participate in conversations with interim President Juan Guaidó. We are not currently talking to them about importing their oil."

Maduro and 14 current and former Venezuelan officials are facing narco-terrorism, corruption, drug trafficking and other criminal charges in the US.

Before the White House had released details about the meeting, US elected officials moved forward to blast the Biden administration.

On Tuesday morning, elected members of Congress and other officials did not hold back on the Biden administration's talks with Maduro.

They held a press conference calling the meeting reckless and irresponsible.

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart said, "Hard to believe anyone could be so reckless, so irresponsible, and really, frankly so idiotic."

Strong words from South Florida's congressman on the news members of the Biden administration met with Maduro in what appeared to be an attempt to bring down gas prices here at home.

"So, there seems to be no limit to what President Biden is willing to do in order to help the enemies of the United States," added the congressman.

Diaz-Balart on Tuesday was joined by fellow Congressman Carlos Gimenez and Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar.

The group was pushing for the Biden administration to look to oil in the US.

"It is time that President Biden realizes that we have all the energy that the US needs and more right under our feet," added Diaz-Balart.

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, but the US and Venezuela haven't had any formal diplomatic relations since 2019.

The Biden administration said this last week about their talks with authoritarian Maduro:

"Those discussions are also ongoing and part of our focus is also on the health and welfare of detained U.S. Citizens. Well, a separate process still that is part of our engagement with them. So, at this point in time, I don't have anything to predict. It's ongoing. I just don't have anything to convey at this point."

Miami-Dade's Mayor Daniella Levine Cava also pushed back on the Biden administration on talks with Venezuela.

She said, "Under no circumstances should the US negotiate or purchase oil from Venezuela's oppressive regime."

At Tuesday's press conference, CBS4 learned there will be a protest against talks with Venezuela.

The protest is scheduled to be held at Bayfront Park, Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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