Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro said he is prepared for political dialogue with the leader of the opposition Henrique Capriles to ensure peace in the country, even if it means “talking to the devil”. He also warned that United States must “give a huge leap forward” if relations as equals are to be advanced between Caracas and Washington.
Although Maduro accused Henrique Capriles of ‘sowing hatred’ he emphasized “that we are willing to speak even to the devil if needed to ensure peace in Venezuela”. The statement as part of a long interview was aired Sunday evening by the Brazilian network Rede TV, but was recorded when Maduro visited Brazil last week as part of a Mercosur member-countries tour which also included Argentina and Uruguay.
Maduro downplayed the lack United States recognition of his victory over Capriles and of his government, and insisted that any advance in that field must begin by Washington respecting Venezuela as an equal.
“What is making an understanding difficult is the constant aggression, the US eternal obsession of meddling in Venezuelan domestic affairs. President Barack Obama has a charming smile. George W Bush had a terrible look whenever he invaded a country. Obama is the same but with a great smile. We are willing to have relations on equal terms, respectful, but they have to give a huge leap forward”, added Maduro.
He underlined that “I don’t care if the United States elite does not recognize me, to a certain point it is rewarding. For me what matters is that Brazil, Mercosur, Unasur, Celac, the African Union recognize and respect my government”.
Last week President Maduro completed a flash visit of Mercosur members, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil to confirm political support for his still questioned victory and government, which is not only challenged with a vote count but with more immediate demands as the empty shelves of supermarkets with shortages of staples and basic basket items, plus a record breaking inflation of 29.5%.
All three leaders, Jose Mujica, Cristina Fernandez and Dilma Rousseff confirmed their full political and economic support for Maduro, and the Venezuelan delegation signed a total of 51 agreements with the three countries in the sensitive areas of energy, food and manufacturing.
In effect Brazil which has the most clout in the region and is concerned about destabilization in Venezuela is believed to have put pressure on Maduro to reach some kind of understanding or dialogue with Capriles and the opposition.
According to the Sao Paulo media Brazil is prepared to supply emergency shipments of food, up to 700.000 tons in the coming months to help the Maduro administration begin to manage the country that has been virtually paralyzed since the transition process and agony at the loss of the undisputed leader of the country, Hugo Chavez.
Maduro will be back in the River Plate at the end of June when he takes the rotating chair of Mercosur from Uruguay for the next six months. By then he should have the country back on track.