Venezuela's Maduro Calls for a Meeting with President Trump

Saturday, 12 Aug, 2017

But most Venezuelans tended to shrug the accusations off as diversionary tactics of an unpopular leader.

On Wednesday, after much debate, the coalition said it would contest overdue regional elections in Venezuela's 23 states on Dec 10, with the aim of holding Maduro to the electoral calendar, which also sees the next presidential election in Oct 2018. 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.

United Nations human rights commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said more than 5,000 people had been arbitrarily detained in Venezuela since widespread unrest broke out in late March.

On Thursday, Maduro referenced Trump during an address to the Venezuelan constitutional assembly, inviting a dialogue with the American leader.

The new legislature, the Constituent Assembly, has already thrown out the Attorney General, a critic of Maduro, while the Supreme Court sentenced another political opponent to 15 months in prison. The country's bonds are highly profitable.

"If we broke off relations we would have to look to another government to look after the Peruvians" living in Venezuela, estimated at 40,000, he said.

On July 17, Trump said Maduro "dreams of becoming a dictator", noting that "the United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles".

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Venezuela's Maduro Calls for a Meeting with President Trump

Chacao was previously governed by Leopoldo Lopez, the most prominent activist to have been jailed by the Maduro government, and is the main gathering point for protests that have left at least 124 dead and hundreds more injured or arrested.

Credit Suisse has "no appetite for providing any funding to the Republic of Venezuela" directly or through third parties when it believes there's intent to pass the funds on to the government, according to the memo.

"If the United States took the decision to suspend purchases from Venezuela, the Maduro regime would have serious financial problems", he said.

The fact that Venezuelans are traveling to the southernmost country in the region to seek refuge is a testament to Caracas' deep problems. "I don't think any decent person would blame him for considering options for putting an end to the people's suffering by putting an end to Maduro".

At the same time, Maduro stressed that "Venezuela will never give up" and will fight for its freedom to the last.

Both before and after President Donald Trump threatened military action in Venezuela, former Central Intelligence Agency counterterrorism deputy director Phil Mudd got to the heart of why the president is now taking an aggressive interventionist posture.

The countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for Latin America - which includes Ecuador, Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua - met in Caracas recently to express their support for the constituent assembly, while another 17 nations of the Americas met in Peru to state that Maduro's government is a dictatorship.