Caracas, Aug 16 (EFE).- Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro government on Monday announced its intention to restore relations with the United States, ruptured since 2019, via the dialogue Caracas is pursuing with different factions of the opposition, which are united for the talks under the so-called Unitary Platform of Venezuela.
At a press conference, Maduro announced that the delegation representing his government in the talks under way in Mexico will put on the negotiating table the proposition to “open a direct dialogue with the United States.”
Relations between the US and Venezuela have been tense for more than a decade, but they became even more complicated after in 2019 the government of then-US President Donald Trump acknowledged Juan Guaido as the South American country’s interim president, a move that has not been altered by the present Joe Biden administration.
The US adopted that stance contending that Maduro had been reelected in “fraudulent” elections, and thus his presidency was illegitimate.
As a result of the situation, on March 14, 2019, then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that “all” US diplomats had already left Venezuela.
Two days earlier, the Maduro government announced that it had ordered the expulsion of US diplomats who still remained in the country – after which the US made a similar announcement – claiming that their presence created risks for the country’s “stability.”
The Venezuelan government gave the US diplomats 72 hours to leave the country.
However, Maduro said Monday that he is hoping that after establishing a dialogue with the opposition last Friday “avenues of contact, dialogue and negotiation can be opened with the government of the United States.”
He said that if an “agenda” were to be placed on the table, this could include “the return of charges d’affaires and, thus, James Story, named by the US as ambassador to Venezuela but who has been carrying out his duties from Bogota, could return to Caracas and the Venezuelan envoy could return to Washington.
Maduro made clear that he is open to dialogue with the US provided that Washington ends “its arrogance, its hatred and its scorn.”
“That is the minimum in a civilized world of the 21st century, the minimum is that there are diplomatic relations, although they may be strained and tense,” he said.
The Venezuelan leader also noted that in the prospective dialogue he would seek to have US economic sanctions against his country lifted that, according to Caracas, have harmed all sectors of the economy.
Maduro also emphasized that the dialogue with the opposition headed by Guaido has already been “successful” and promised to do “everything possible and impossible” to arrive at an accord.
“The peace dialogue between Venezuela and extremist sectors of the right has gotten off on the right foot, they are already successful. I have in my hands the original document from Mexico and I feel that it has a life of its own,” he said.
The Venezuelan president also referred to the release of opposition figure Freddy Guevara, who had been held in prison for a little more than a month up until Sunday after being accused of having links to the paramilitaries, and Maduro said that he was welcome to participate in the negotiations in Mexico.
The government and the opposition on Sunday ended the first three-day round of meetings in Mexico and agreed to continue their talks on Sept. 3-6.
So far, according to a memorandum signed by the parties on Friday, the agenda includes negotiations about the “political rights of everyone,” election guarantees and a timetable for monitored elections, along with the lifting of sanctions, respect for the rule of law and the renunciation of violence by all parties.
In addition, it includes reparations for victims of violence, protections for the national economy and social protection measures for the Venezuelan people, guarantees of implementation, monitoring and verification.
The government is being represented by the head of Parliament, Jorge Rodriguez; Maduro’s son, lawmaker Nicolas Maduro Guerra; and the governor of Miranda state, Hector Rodriguez, while the opposition delegation is made up of the former mayor of the city of Baruta, Gerardo Blyde, former lawmakers Tomas Guanipa, Stalin, Gonzalez and Mariela Magallanes, among others.