Biden says Venezuela situation is alarming

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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — U.S Vice President Joe Biden says Venezuela's political and social situation is alarming.

In an interview published Sunday with Chile's El Mercurio newspaper, Biden also accused Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of inventing conspiracies by Washington to divert the attention from the South American country's troubles.

Maduro has faced several weeks of nationwide student-led protests that he claims are an attempt by far-right provocateurs to overthrow him. They've been joined by mostly middle-class Venezuelans fed up with inflation that reached 56 percent last year and one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Biden and Maduro will attend Tuesday's swearing-in of Michelle Bachelet as Chile's president. Maduro is also attending the ceremony.

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