In an interview to the Washington Post, published Saturday, Maduro said that he would like to sit down with his US counterpart, suggesting that both countries would benefit from the rapprochement given it is based on mutual respect.
If there’s respect between governments, no matter how big the United States is, and if there’s a dialogue, an exchange of truthful information, then be sure we can create a new type of relationship
The outlet reported Maduro also suggested Caracas was poised to open its oil industry to US companies if Washington lifts crippling sanctions of Venezuela’s oil and financial sectors, and agrees to pursue a détente with the Latin American country.
The Venezuelan leader described the US policy in Venezuela so far as a “failure,” arguing that Trump has been led astray by his own Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and a chorus of hardliners rooting for a regime change in Venezuela.
I think Pompeo lives in a fantasy. He’s not a man with his feet on earth. I think Trump has had terrible advisers on Venezuela. John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Elliott Abrams have caused him to have a wrong vision.
Speaking about US-backed opposition figurehead Juan Guaido, who declared himself an ‘interim’ president of Venezuela a year ago, but has since not only gained on support but lost his speaker seat in the opposition-led National Assembly to another lawmaker, Maduro said that Guaido’s own lapses, not his government, are the reason behind the lawmaker’s fall from grace among his own peers.
“Guaidó is responsible for having lost the National Assembly. He and his mistakes. Don’t blame me now. He’s the one that now has to answer to the United States,” Maduro said.
Guaido claimed that his bid to get reelected as the the parliament’s leader failed after he was “blocked” by security forces from entering the chamber on January 5, when the crucial vote was held. A dramatic video showed him scaling a fence in an attempt to get into the building. While the video was picked up by mainstream media, other footage showed him chatting with guards and refusing to enter until the deputies who lost their mandates pending criminal prosecution are also allowed inside. In wake of the incident, Caracas accused Guaido of pulling a PR stunt to mask his lack of support in the opposition-led legislature.
Maduro argued that there has never been much support for Guaido, recognized by the US and its allies as the leader of Venezuela, anaway. The Venezuelan leader told the outlet that he knew about the failed April 30 coup attempt that marked the climax of protests led by the opposition politician 10 days in advance, but “let it flow to see how far the tentacles of the conspiracies could get.”
Maduro added that top officials such as Venezuela’s Supreme Court Maikel Moreno and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino would brief him on all the developments in the opposition camp leading up to the coup, while pretending they were in bed with Guaido.
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