Maduro: We are ready to Normalize Diplomatic Relations with the USWorld | January 2, 2023, Monday // 11:52| views
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said in an interview that he is ready to work to normalize relations with the United States, despite ongoing sanctions crippling his country.
Maduro's remarks came days after the South American country's opposition voted to dissolve the "interim government" led by Juan Guaido, who was recognized by many countries - including the US - as Venezuela's legitimate leader after disputed 2018 elections.
"Venezuela is ready, absolutely ready, to take steps towards a process of normalizing diplomatic, consular and political relations with the current administration of the United States and with future administrations," Maduro said.
Caracas cut ties with Washington in 2019, when then-President Donald Trump's administration recognized Guaido as the "interim president" of Venezuela.
In an attempt to force Maduro out of office, the United States launched a series of sanctions against Venezuela, including an oil embargo.
Although current US President Joe Biden's administration maintains a policy of not officially recognizing Maduro's government, it sent delegates to Caracas last year to meet with him and negotiate a prisoner swap, among other topics.
"We are ready for a dialogue at the highest level, for a relationship of respect, and I would like a ray of light to appear in the United States of America, to turn the page, to put aside its extremist policy and start a more pragmatic policy towards Venezuela", Maduro said.
Three of the four main parties in Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly voted last week to suspend the interim government led by Guaido.
The body, elected in 2015, is now largely symbolic as it was replaced by a legislature loyal to Maduro, although it still retains control of some of Venezuela's assets abroad.
After talks between the opposition and Maduro's government resumed in Mexico in late November, Washington responded by granting US energy giant Chevron a six-month license to operate in Venezuela.
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