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Venezuela's Maduro makes offer to meet with Trump

Venezuela's Maduro makes offer to meet with Trump
From CBC - August 10, 2017

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro said Thursday he wants a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trumpthe same man he ridicules as a crass imperial magnate and blasts for U.S. sanctions against officials in his administration.

In a lengthy address to the 545 members of a new, all-powerful constitutional assembly, Maduro instructed Venezuela's foreign minister to approach the United States about arranging a telephone conversation or meeting with Trump.

"Mr. Donald Trump, here is my hand," Maduro said, adding that he wants as strong a relationship with the U.S. as he has with Russia.

The remarks came shortly after Maduro forcefully warned the U.S. president that Venezuela "will never give in."

The Trump administration has called Maduro a "dictator" and issued sanctions against him and more than two dozen other former and current officials, accusing Maduro's government of violating human rights and undermining the country's democracy amid an escalating political and financial crisis.

5th opposition mayor removed

A fifth opposition mayor in Venezuela was removed from his post and ordered under arrest in a continuing crackdown by the struggling nation's government on its adversaries.

A small group of young people, some of them masked, set up barricades of strewn metal objects in the eastern Caracas district of El Hatillo on Thursday to protest the previous day's Supreme Court decision to order Mayor David Smolansky imprisoned for 15 months for not obeying orders to shut down the protests.

"[We ca not allow] the dictatorship to hunt down, imprison and treat our mayors like criminals," said Andres Paez, a lawyer who joined the protest.

Smolansky, a former student activist, issued a video from an undisclosed location in which he called on residents of El Hatillo to take to the streets to uphold their right to representation against what he called the government's "political firing squad."

"I want to tell you all that I continue being a public servant by vocation and conviction," Smolansky said. "My commitment to restoring freedom in Venezuela remains intact."

His arrest was ordered by the government-stacked Supreme Court less than 48 hours after it levied a similar sentence against Ramon Muchacho, another Caracas-area mayor. Opposition leaders decried both rulings, calling them part of acampaign by the high court to illegally remove anti-government mayors from their elected posts.

'A continued coup'

Credit Suisse bans trading in Venezuelan bonds

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