Venezuelan president seeks high-level talks with Obama
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
2/24/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Relations between the United States and the South American nation - and member of OPEC, Venezuela have been strained as of late. To this end, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has invited U.S. President Barack Obama to join him in talks in order to mend bridges. Maduro said the meeting would help "put the truth out on the table."
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, hot under the collar, is looking to strengthen ties to the U.S. after run-ins with journalists and diplomats.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Maduro has recently accused U.S. conservatives and media organizations of plotting to overthrow his government. Venezuela revoked the accreditations of CNN reporters covering the country's crisis late last week and eight people have been killed in recent protests. Adding to the unease was the expulsion of three U.S. diplomats accused of meeting violent groups linked to the anti-government forces.
"I call for a dialogue between Venezuela and the United States and its government," Maduro said in a recent press conference. "Let's initiate a high-level dialogue and let's put the truth out on the table."
Maduro acknowledges that the dialogue will be "difficult and complex." He says that the American government accepted "the full autonomy and independence of Latin America."
Venezuela had revoked the accreditation of CNN's Caracas-based reporter, Osmary Hernandez, as well as two other CNN journalists sent to Venezuela to cover a wave of opposition marches.
The government maintains the protests are part of a coup attempt.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, denounced these recent actions. "This is not how democracies behave.
"I call on the Venezuelan government to step back from its efforts to stifle dissent through force and respect basic human rights.
"The solution to Venezuela's problems can only be found through dialogue with all Venezuelans, engaging in a free exchange of opinions in a climate of mutual respect."
Maduro threatened last week to "take action" against CNN unless it ceased what he described as "hostile coverage."
"I won't accept war propaganda against Venezuela. If they don't rectify themselves, out of Venezuela," he said.
A close friend and confident of former Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, Maduro was elected by a narrow margin last April.
Political divisions have deepened since the election, and the economy has taken a downturn.
Defeated presidential candidate Henrique Capriles and other opposition leaders have called on the Venezuelan people to take to the streets in marches "against violence."
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