Venezuela ‘ready’ for ‘new era’ of relationship with US

Caracas : Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said that his country is “ready to begin a new era” of relations with the US government based on “respect and non-intervention”, Spanish news agency Efe reported.

“If a window is open, President (Barack) Obama, to move forward into a new era, a new era of absolute respect, of non-interventionism, Venezuela is prepared and ready to start a new era of relations with the government of the United States of America on the basis of respect,” Maduro told a government-sponsored rally in Caracas on Thursday.

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He applauded some statements made by Obama, saying “the statements by President Barack Hussein Obama … could temporarily open a door to begin a new era of historic relations between Venezuela, a free and sovereign Latin America and the empire of the United States”.

In an exclusive interview with Efe, Obama clarified that “we do not believe that Venezuela poses a threat to the United States, nor does the United States threaten the Venezuelan government”.

On March 9, Obama signed an executive order describing the internal situation in Venezuela to be an “extraordinary and unusual threat” to American security.

Maduro said that to open the possibility of rapprochement between the two governments, Obama must explain why he signed the decree.

He reiterated that this action of Obama’s, in his view, was the “biggest mistake” his American counterpart had “committed in international politics in the six years” he has been in office.

The statements came just hours after Maduro received US State Department Counsellor Thomas Shannon.

Diplomatic relations between Caracas and Washington, without ambassadorial representation since 2010, have been tumultuous in recent years and are currently at their lowest.