In a strange turn of events, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Thursday that he wants a meeting with President Donald Trump. The Socialist leader, with his country starving due to poor government policies and a bottoming out oil market is facing more and more pressure as he cracks down on opposition leaders, has reached out to the man he called a crass imperial magnate and blasts for U.S. sanctions against officials in his socialist administration.
Maduro spoke at length to the 545 members of a new, all-powerful constitutional assembly, which has given him basically a rubber stamp to operate as he pleases. However, Maduro instructed Venezuela’s foreign minister to approach the United States about arranging a meeting or phone call with Trump.
“Mr. Donald Trump, here is my hand,” the socialist president said, adding that he wants as strong a relationship with the U.S. as he has with Russia.
The remarks came shortly after Maduro forcefully warned the U.S. 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.
On Thursday, Credit Suisse bank banned the trading and use of Venezuelan bonds.
With the country on the brink of collapse economically and rumblings from the military that could revolt against him, Maduro is trying to salvage his hold on the country. The quickest way to do that is to get Trump to ease the sanctions and ask the United States for economic and humanitarian assistance. But with his government being accused by many with violating his own people’s human rights, the chances of that happening are pretty low at this point.
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