UPDATED 6:31 AM PT — Friday, February 15, 2019
Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is inviting a U.S. special envoy to the country, following alleged “secret talks” with the U.S.
During an interview Thursday, Maduro claimed US. Special Envoy Elliott Abrams privately met with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza in two separate meetings. He went on to allege the U.S. threatened military action and severe sanctions during the talks, however, his claims have not been confirmed.
Maduro said he would gladly meet with Abrams, and even said he hopes to meet with President Trump in the near future to discuss America’s recognition of Juan Guiado as Venezuela’s leader.
“I can tell you that we have had two meetings already with Mr. Elliott Abrams in New York, our Chancellor has met twice with Elliott Abrams — the first meeting lasted two hours, the second three hours, a few days ago,” claimed Maduro. “I invited Elliott Abrams to come to Venezuela in private, in public, in secret or if he wants to meet, let him say when, how, where, and I will be there.”
The embattled Venezuelan president continued by reaffirming he would not step down from power despite increasing pressure from across the globe.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Juan Guaido has said humanitarian aid will enter the country despite Maduro’s efforts to block it. At a rally this week, Guaido”said he will organize relief so supplies can be brought into the country next week.
Truck loads full of food and medicine arrived last week, but Maduro has continued to resist foreign efforts to help the country’s people who are suffering from rising hunger. More than two million people have fled Venezuela over the past two years due to soaring hyperinflation and severe food and medical shortages.
“Because the humanitarian crisis, the humanitarian aid…it’s not a box, it’s not a blister. It is a mother in Anzoategui who lost her baby boy to dehydration. It is a grandfather who can’t get his medicine. It is a mother who doesn’t have anything to give her son for lunch, and we say enough already, enough already.”
— Juan Guaido, self-proclaimed interim President – Venezuela