Thursday 24 January 2019 7:36 am

EXCLUSIVE: Corbyn hosts Venezuelan diplomat in parliament as anti-Maduro protests erupt across the socialist country

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn hosted a Venezuelan diplomat in parliament on Wednesday evening, as hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan citizens took to the streets demanding an end to the socialist regime of President Nicolas Maduro.

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Corbyn was a vocal supporter of Maduro's predecessor, Hugo Chavez, and regularly praised the country's socialist policies.

Protests mounted throughout the day yesterday but a Labour source told City A.M. that the current situation in Venezuela was not discussed at the meeting, which included ambassadors from across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Corbyn tweeted a picture of himself and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, and said he "set out Labour’s agenda and exchanged ideas on a future relationship based on mutual respect and human rights".

Venezuela has descended into a humanitarian catastrophe with crippling shortages of food, medicine and basic supplies. Millions of people have fled across the border to neighbouring countries while the Maduro regime cracks down on dissent and opposition.

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Earlier this month Labour's Chris Williamson, a key Corbyn ally, tweeted: "Huge social programme on track in Venezuela."