CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said his government would work to establish dialogue with the United States under President-elect Joe Biden, after relations deteriorated under President Donald Trump.
“I hope we can work to restart sincere and direct channels of decent dialogue between the future government of Joe Biden and the government over which I preside,” Maduro said in a state television address on Sunday, a day after the former U.S. Vice President defeated Trump’s re-election bid.
Trump, a Republican, has used economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure to pressure the socialist Venezuelan leader to resign, accusing him of corruption, human rights violations, and rigging his 2018 re-election win.
Washington closed its Caracas embassy last year and cut off ties with Maduro after recognizing Juan Guaido, the speaker of the opposition-held National Assembly, as Venezuela’s rightful leader. Dozens of other countries have also recognized Guaido, and the United States has also imposed sanctions on the OPEC nation’s oil industry.
Biden advisers have said he would push for humanitarian relief in Venezuela and modify the sanctions framework, without dismantling it entirely. The sanctions have proven popular among opposition supporters in Venezuela, as well as many voters of Venezuelan and Cuban descent in Florida, a battleground state that is closely fought between Democrats and Republicans.
Both Maduro and Guaido congratulated Biden on his victory on Saturday.
Reporting by Mayela Armas in Caracas; Editing by Luc Cohen and Rosalba O’Brien