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April 19, 2014

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Ex-President Carter planning trip to Venezuela

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 | 2:46 p.m.

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is expressing concern about Venezuela's escalating political crisis and wants to meet with leaders on both sides to help ease tensions in an upcoming trip.

Carter made the offer in letters this week to President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

In the letter to Capriles, he urges the opposition to make clear its commitment to act within constitutional limits and strongly reject violence. He says the government must guarantee the right to peaceful protest and impartial justice for jailed protesters.

The Carter Center mediated talks between Venezuela's government and opposition after a 2002 coup against then President Hugo Chavez.

Carter says he hopes to meet with Capriles and other leaders during an April visit to promote a health program with Venezuela and Brazil.