Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro said Sunday that he will work to resume “decent, sincere” political dialogue with the United States, a country with which his government maintains tense relations, once Joe Biden assumes the presidency.
“In time,… we will work, hopefully, to resume decent, sincere, direct channels of dialogue between the future government of Joe Biden” and Venezuela, the leftist leader said in a televised speech.
Maduro had said Saturday he was open to “dialogue” after congratulating Biden on his victory. Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself the Latin American country’s interim leader, also congratulated the US president-elect.
The target of US sanctions aiming to force him from power, Maduro broke off diplomatic relations with Washington in January 2019, after President Donald Trump’s administration — along with around 60 other countries — recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s president.
“Donald Trump left a minefield between the government of the United States and Venezuela… he left a swamp. I know, we know,” Maduro said, adding he hoped Biden’s administration would end US “interventionism” in Latin America.
Washington has led international pressure to force the socialist leader from power and was one of the first countries to back Guaido’s January 2019 claim to be Venezuela’s acting president, after Maduro’s May 2018 reelection was deemed fraudulent.
The United States imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela, including an oil embargo in force since April 2019.
It has also accused Maduro of drug trafficking and offered a $15 million reward for information that would lead to his arrest.
Despite the pressure, Maduro remains in power, backed by the Venezuelan military as well as key allies Cuba, Russia, China, Turkey and Iran.
Biden will replace Trump and officially become the 46th US president on January 20, 2021.