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Venezuela’s Embattled Leader Wants Meeting With Trump
Venezuela’s Embattled Leader Wants Meeting With Trump

Venezuela’s Embattled Leader Wants Meeting With Trump

Venezuela’s Embattled Leader Wants Meeting With Trump

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro said Thursday he wants a meeting with President Donald Trump —the same man he ridicules as a crass imperial magnate and blasts for US sanctions against officials in his socialist administration.
In a lengthy address to the 545 members of a new, all-powerful constitutional assembly, Maduro instructed Venezuela’s foreign minister to approach the United States about arranging a telephone conversation or meeting with Trump, AP reported.
“Mr. Donald Trump, here is my hand,” the socialist president said, adding that he wants as strong a relationship with the US as he has with Russia. The remarks came shortly after Maduro forcefully warned the US president that Venezuela “will never give in.”
The Trump administration has called Maduro a “dictator” and issued sanctions against him and more than two dozen other former and current officials, accusing Maduro’s government of violating human rights and undermining the country’s democracy amid an escalating political and financial crisis.
Venezuela is facing mounting international criticism over a crackdown on opponents and moves to consolidate power, including the selection of the all-powerful assembly controlled by Maduro. It is also in the midst of a severe economic downturn caused by low oil prices and poor government policies.
On Wednesday, a fifth opposition mayor in Venezuela was removed from his post, part of what the opposition is calling a campaign to illegally remove anti-government mayors from their elected posts. A small group of young people set up barricades of strewn metal objects in the eastern Caracas district of El Hatillo on Thursday to protest the Supreme Court decision to order Mayor David Smolansky imprisoned for 15 months for not obeying orders to shut down the protests. We can’t allow “the dictatorship to hunt down, imprison and treat our mayors like criminals,” said Andres Paez, a lawyer who joined the protest.

 

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