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Venezuela seeks ‘new beginning’

Agence France-Presse

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Wednesday he hopes for better relations with Washington under US President Joe Biden, nearly two years after diplomatic ties were severed during the Donald Trump administration.

“We must tell the United States: we want to improve our relations, to make it one of respect, of mutual acknowledgment, a relationship with a future,” Maduro said during a televised presentation.

He urged the pro-government legislature, the National Assembly, to “take initiatives” towards a “new beginning” with Washington.

After years of a frosty relationship Caracas and Washington fully broke diplomatic ties on 23 January 2019, when the US government recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.

Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, has described Maduro as a “brutal dictator,” and during his senate confirmation hearing said he supported Trump’s policy of supporting Guaido.

The Trump administration issued sanctions against Venezuela’s socialist government, imposed an oil embargo, and refused to recognize Maduro’s 2018 re-election, among other things.
Analysts believe the Biden administration will take a more moderate stance and will support international mediation for the transition towards a new government.

Maduro, who said he listened to Biden’s inauguration speech “three times,” asked the new US administration to “turn the page… after four years of Trumpist brutality.”

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