Venezuela’s Maduro is on his way to Russia to meet Putin

Maduro’s visit is aimed at strengthening diplomatic relations and ‘friendly ties between the brotherly nations’.

Maduro and Putin
President Maduro visited President Putin last year, and is on his way to make a second visit now [FILE: Yuri Kadobnov/AP]

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said he is on his way to Moscow for an “important meeting” with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

“At this moment we are leaving for Russia to strengthen and expand our diplomatic relations and friendly ties between the brotherly nations,” Maduro tweeted.

According to Maduro, he was planning to hold “a very intense and very important meeting” with Putin later on Tuesday.

Maduro visited Putin last year, and during those talks, the Russian president noted that Venezuela was “going through uneasy times”.

Russia has been supporting Venezuela’s sovereignty, maintaining the country should develop without external interference. 

Washington has imposed sanctions on Venezuelan officials it accuses of corruption, and on certain financial transactions with the Maduro government. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday criticised sanctions on Venezuela during a visit to Caracas, the capital.

“Political problems cannot be resolved by punishing an entire nation,” Erdogan said, with Maduro by his side at a forum attended by business people from both countries.

While Erdogan did not directly mention the United States or President Donald Trump, he said his “friend” Maduro was facing “manipulative attacks from certain countries and acts of sabotage from economic assassins”.

In response, Erdogan said he was willing to strengthen trade ties.

Venezuela and the US

The US has accused Venezuela’s government of violating human rights and triggering an economic meltdown.

Trump last month signed an executive order banning anyone in the US from dealing with entities and people involved in “corrupt or deceptive” gold sales from the South American country, and late last year he banned US financial institutions from providing new money to the government or the state oil company, PDVSA. 

Venezuela is in a fourth straight year of recession, with double-digit declines in its gross domestic product. The inflation rate is expected to reach one million percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Almost two million Venezuelans have fled the ailing oil-rich nation, driven out by acute food and medicine shortages, and violent crimes. 

Maduro contends he is the victim of an “economic war” led by US-backed adversaries. He denies limiting political freedoms, insisting Washington-supported opposition leaders have plotted assassination attempts and sought to overthrow him through violent street protests.

The United Nations recently announced it is seeking $738m in 2019 to help neighbouring countries cope with the outflow of millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, the first time the crisis was included in its annual global humanitarian appeal.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies