Washington, DC - Secretary of State John Kerry: "On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I offer my best wishes to the people of Venezuela on the 205th anniversary of your country’s independence on July 5.
"My government recognizes that the past year has been an extremely difficult one for the Venezuelan people. You face many economic challenges that have led to political divisions and severe hardships. However, Venezuelans have shown resilience in the past and we have confidence in your ability to find your way out of the current crisis.
"We urge the leaders of all branches of the government to engage in the national dialogue required to effectively address your country’s problems.
"The United States will always support Venezuela by advocating for democratic institutions, respect for human rights, and economic progress.
"In the year ahead, I look forward to working with you and with your leaders to build upon the cooperation and friendship that has guided our relationship through most of the past two centuries.
"On this special day, though, I congratulate Venezuelans and hope that the anniversary of your nation’s independence will be a source of pride and inspiration to all."