The State Department said Wednesday the U.S. may have to take a larger role in trying to ease the crisis in Venezuela if a South American effort to broker talks between the government in Caracas and the opposition remains stalled.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was headed to Mexico to discuss potential next steps with officials there.
The U.S. has supported regional efforts to reach a compromise. But a senior State Department official told reporters Wednesday that the standoff needs to be resolved within days, or weeks at most, or risk the continued of violent unrest that has gripped Venezuela for months.
The official said Kerry and Mexican officials are expected to look at what more can each country do to help the regional talks and Washington may have to exert its influence with another country in the region which has stronger ties to Caracas. The official was not authorized to discuss the diplomatic plans by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Congress is considering issuing sanctions against Venezuelan officials to punish them for human rights abuses.