Maduro expresses interest in better relations with the USA and Venezuela

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After weekend talks with American officials, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s President, expressed an interest in improving relations. These were prompted by concerns about rising gas prices and Russia’s invasion in Ukraine.

Maduro did not give details of the meetings during a televised meeting that he held with cabinet members late Monday. A White House spokesperson did not provide details of the meeting earlier.

He did however indicate that he was open to U.S. demands that he reopen negotiations with his rivals as a first step to any relief from U.S. sanction that has been punishing the OPEC country for many years.

Maduro stated that they had agreed to work together on an agenda, which would include issues of interest. “It seemed very important to me to be able to discuss issues of maximum importance to Venezuela and the rest of the world, face-to-face.” As I stated to the delegation, I ratify all of our efforts to move forward in a program of peace and well-being through diplomacy and respect, and the greatest hope for a better future.

Three years ago, the U.S. ended relations with Maduro and declared Juan Guaido the legitimate leader of the country. After months of backchannel talks between intermediaries (American lobbyists, Norwegian diplomats, and international oil executives), they met after the U.S. President Joe Biden urged them to reconsider the unsuccessful “maximum pressure campaign” to overthrow Maduro he had inherited from Trump’s administration.

However, Maduro’s risky outreach to Maduro (who has been sanctioned but is currently indicted in New York for drug trafficking charges) became more urgent following Russia’s invasion and subsequent U.S. sanctions. These promises to reshuffle international alliances and increase gas prices, driving inflation to an all-time high of four decades.

Last week, both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill expressed support for an American ban on Russian oil and natural gasoline imports. This would be the next step in punishing Russia President Vladimir Putin for his invasion.

Venezuela is Putin’s top ally and top oil exporter in Latin America. The possibility of Venezuela’s reentry to the U.S. energy market could help mitigate the negative effects on the pump from an oil embargo against Russia. Top Republic senators and top Democrats quickly condemned the Caracas talks.

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He said that Biden’s efforts against Putin should not be undermined by supporting Maduro. Maduro’s government is currently under investigation by International Criminal Court for possible crimes against humanity committed against protesters in 2017.

The Democrat stated that if the reports are true, the Biden administration is buying Venezuelan oil. He also expressed concern that this could lead to a humanitarian crisis that has destabilized Latin America for a whole generation. “… I strongly oppose any action which fills the pockets regime oligarchs oil profits, while Maduro continues depriving Venezuelans basic human rights, freedoms and food.

Marco Rubio, a Republican U.S. Senator, was also one of the architects for the regime change policy. He tweeted that the discussions were a “demoralizing Betrayal of those Who have risked everything in order to oppose Maduro.”

Venezuela has been in deep political, economic, and social crisis for many years. Critics attribute this to a decline in oil production due to socialist governments’ mismanagement. The U.S. economic sanctions are largely to blame for the government’s problems.

Millions of people are living in poverty and many have fled to other countries. According to the United Nations, 6 million Venezuelans fled the country in the last 10 years. This is more than 10% of its population.

Maduro and his rivals brokered dialogue last fall after one his key allies was extradited to the U.S. from Cape Verde on money-laundering allegations.

Maduro’s remarks were not immediately addressed by the U.S.-backed opposition faction. He also called for reformatting of the dialogue that took place in Mexico under the direction of Norwegian diplomats.