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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Members of the Organization of American States urged Venezuela's government and opposition to settle their differences through dialogue Tuesday, backing off from threats to suspend the socialist-run country and providing President Nicolas Maduro some short-term relief as he struggles to rescue the polarized nation from crisis.

The contentious special meeting at the OAS headquarters in Washington underscored the difficulty that regional governments increasingly concerned about Venezuela's crisis face as they try to force the unpopular Maduro to cede some power to his opponents and restore badly damaged democratic norms.

The outcome also showed the degree to which Venezuela, even crippled by triple-digit inflation and widespread shortages of basic goods, can still count on an alliance with a few small Caribbean nations whose support was won through years of subsidized oil shipments.

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