Venezuela’s Maduro hopes for ‘better relations’ with US

The Venezuelan president urges the country’s parliament to ‘take initiatives’ towards a ‘new beginning’ with Washington.

Venezuela''s re-elected President Maduro gestures as he leaves after receiving a certificate confirming him as winner of Sunday''s election, at the National Electoral Council (CNE) in Caracas
Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, has described Maduro as a 'brutal dictator' [File: Marco Bello/Reuters]

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says he hopes for better relations with Washington under US President Joe Biden, nearly two years after diplomatic ties were severed during the Donald Trump administration.

“We must tell the United States: We want to improve our relations, to make it one of respect, of mutual acknowledgement, a relationship with a future,” Maduro said on Wednesday during a televised presentation.

He urged the pro-government legislature, the National Assembly, to “take initiatives” towards a “new beginning” with Washington.

After years of a frosty relationship, Caracas and Washington fully broke diplomatic ties on January 23, 2019, when the US government recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.

Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, has described Maduro as a “brutal dictator,” and during his Senate confirmation hearing said he supported Trump’s policy of supporting Guaido.

The Trump administration issued sanctions against Venezuela’s socialist government, imposed an oil embargo, and refused to recognise Maduro’s 2018 re-election, among other things.

Analysts believe the Biden administration will take a more moderate stance and will support international mediation for the transition towards a new government.

Maduro, who said he listened to Biden’s inauguration speech “three times,” asked the new US administration to “turn the page … after four years of Trumpist brutality.”

Guaido earlier wrote that he and his supporters will continue to work towards “Venezuela’s freedom and free elections”.

He said his “ambassador” in Washington was present at Biden’s inauguration.

Source: AFP