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Maduro Signals Readiness To Negotiate With Venezuela Opposition

A week after opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro signaled that he was willing to negotiate with the opposition.

“I’m willing to sit down for talks with the opposition so that we could talk for the sake of Venezuela’s peace and its future,” Maduro said in an interview published on Wednesday by RIA Novosti, a state news outlet in Russia, which firmly backs Maduro in the political turmoil in the Latin American country.

According to Maduro, the governments of Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia, Russia, the Vatican, and some European governments that he didn’t name, support dialog in Venezuela.

The U.S. backed last week Juan Guaidó, the chairman of the National Assembly, as the legitimate president of Venezuela, after Guaidó declared himself interim president. 

Earlier this week, the U.S. Treasury slapped another round of sweeping sanctions against Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA, in order to “help prevent further diverting of Venezuela’s assets by Maduro and preserve these assets for the people of Venezuela.”

On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted “Maduro willing to negotiate with opposition in Venezuela following U.S. sanctions and the cutting off of oil revenues. Guaido is being targeted by Venezuelan Supreme Court. Massive protest expected today. Americans should not travel to Venezuela until further notice.”

Speaking to RIA Novosti, Maduro accused Trump of plotting to assassinate him.

“Donald Trump has without doubt given an order to kill me and has told the government of Colombia and the Colombian mafia to kill me,” Maduro said.

“If something happens to me one day, Donald Trump and Colombian President Ivan Duque will bear responsibility,” the Venezuelan leader told RIA Novosti.

Meanwhile, the oil market and officials are still trying to assess how the political crisis in Venezuela and the latest U.S. sanctions on PDVSA will impact Venezuela’s exports and the global supply-demand picture.

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Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), told Reuters on Wednesday that it was too early to quantify the impact of the latest U.S. sanctions. Earlier this week, Khalid al-Falih, the energy minister of OPEC’s leading producer Saudi Arabia, said that the crisis in Venezuela had not had an impact on the oil market and there was no need for any additional measures.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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