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Maduro says time for direct talks with Trump, blames Pompeo & co for US ‘failure’ in Venezuela

Maduro says time for direct talks with Trump, blames Pompeo & co for US ‘failure’ in Venezuela
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said he is open to talks with US President Donald Trump in the hope of repairing ties with the US, while blaming Trump’s hawkish advisers for feeding him a distorted narrative.

In an interview with the Washington Post, published on Saturday, Maduro said that he would like to sit down with his US counterpart, suggesting that both countries would benefit from rapprochement based on mutual respect.

If there’s respect between governments, no matter how big the United States is, and if there’s a dialogue, an exchange of truthful information, then be sure we can create a new type of relationship

The outlet reported that Maduro also suggested Caracas was poised to open its oil industry to US companies if Washington lifts its crippling sanctions on Venezuela’s oil and financial sectors, and agrees to pursue a detente with the Latin American country.

The Venezuelan leader described the US policy in relation to the country so far as a “failure,” arguing that Trump had been led astray by his own Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and a chorus of hardliners rooting for regime change in Venezuela.

I think Pompeo lives in a fantasy. He’s not a man with his feet on Earth. I think Trump has had terrible advisers on Venezuela. John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Elliott Abrams have caused him to have a wrong vision.

Speaking about US-backed opposition figurehead Juan Guaido, who declared himself ‘interim’ president of Venezuela a year ago, but has since not only failed to gain support but also lost his speaker seat in the opposition-led National Assembly to another lawmaker, Maduro said that Guaido’s own lapses, not his government, are the reason behind the lawmaker’s fall from grace among his own peers.

“Guaido is responsible for having lost the National Assembly. He and his mistakes. Don’t blame me now. He’s the one that now has to answer to the United States,” Maduro said.

Guaido claimed that his bid to get re-elected as the the parliament's leader failed after he was “blocked” by security forces from entering the chamber on January 5, when the crucial vote was held. A dramatic video showed him scaling a fence in an attempt to get into the building. While the video was picked up by mainstream media, other footage showed him chatting with guards and refusing to enter until the deputies who lost their mandates pending criminal prosecution were also allowed inside. In the wake of the incident, Caracas accused Guaido of pulling a PR stunt to mask his lack of support in the opposition-led legislature.

Also on rt.com Venezuela parliament speaker election: Chaos inside & outside, Guaido accused of provocation after he was ‘denied’ entry

Maduro argued that there has never been much support for Guaido, who is recognized by the US and its allies as the leader of Venezuela. The Venezuelan president told the outlet that he knew 10 days in advance about the failed April 30 coup attempt that marked the climax of protests led by the opposition politician, but “let it flow to see how far the tentacles of the conspiracies could get.”

Maduro added that top officials such as Venezuela's Supreme Court President Maikel Moreno and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino would brief him on all the developments in the opposition camp leading up to the coup, while pretending they were supporting Guaido.

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