(Bloomberg) – The government of US President Joe Biden has rejected a call by Nicolas Maduro to ease US sanctions on the grounds that the Venezuelan leader must take further steps to restore democracy before the fines are lifted.
Maduro, who was the target of US sanctions under former President Donald Trump, identified his desire to get closer to Biden in an interview with Bloomberg last week, calling for the suspension of sanctions, the normalization of relations and an end to “Venezuela’s monetization.” .
In response to Maduro’s remarks, a US State Department spokesman said a change in US policy would require major changes on the part of the Venezuelan president. The move will include talks with opposition leader Juan Guide to resolve the country’s political crisis, pave the way for free and fair elections and restore economic and political independence.
As long as Maduro’s “repressive and corrupt practices” and followers continue, the United States will continue to work with partners and allies to maintain pressure, including on sanctions against those who undermine democracy, the spokesman said in an email.
When Maduro took office for a second term in 2019, the Trump administration recognized Quito as Venezuela’s interim president in elections that the United States and other countries considered fraudulent. In an interview with Bloomberg, Maduro said his government had no dialogue with the United States, and that a “permanent extortion” of Venezuelan voters in Florida was a sign of silence.
Responding to a question about the anonymity, a State Department spokesman said the US position on Maduro’s legitimacy had not changed since Biden’s inauguration. The United States does not recognize Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimate leader, but recognizes the president of the National Assembly, Kaida, as interim president, a spokesman said.
The Trump administration blocked access to Venezuela’s U.S. financial markets in 2017, and then banned Venezuela’s credit trading and deals with Patrilios de Venezuela or PTVSA.
Maduro argued that this policy prevents Venezuela from repaying and restructuring its foreign debt. He said he had a plan to pay bond investors, which was rejected by a foreign ministry spokesman, who accused Maduro of economic mismanagement and questioned the credibility of the Venezuelan president’s report on tariff plans.
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