Venezuela leader Maduro wants shock meeting with Trump
Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro has offered to speak with President Trump, despite his government previously attacking the 'genocidal nature' of American leaders.
Venezuela leader Nicolas Maduro has said he wants to meet with President Donald Trump and improve relations with the United States - despite his government previously attacking the 'genocidal nature' of American leaders.
The beleaguered president made the remarks in a lengthy address to the 545 members of a new, all-powerful constitutional assembly.
The Trump administration has called Maduro a 'dictator', accusing his government of violating human rights and undermining the country's democracy amid an escalating political and financial crisis.
But Maduro today said: 'Mr. Donald Trump, here is my hand.'
Pictured: Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro addressing the Constitutional Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela
The Trump administration has called Maduro a 'dictator', accusing his government of violating human rights and undermining the country's democracy amid an escalating political and financial crisis
He stressed that he wished to have as strong relations with the US as with Russia.
But just three months ago, he struck a different tone, saying: 'Enough meddling ... Go home, Donald Trump.
'Get out of Venezuela. Get your dirty hands out of here.'
The Venezuelan government also said the US was attempting to destabilise Venezuela and accused the Trump administration of crimes 'against humanity and its own people.'
Pictured: President Maduro outside the National Assembly building in Caracas. He has offered his hand to President Trump - despite previously attacking the US
'The extreme positions of a government just starting off only confirmed the discriminatory, racist, xenophobic, and genocidal nature of US elites against humanity and its own people, which has now been heightened by this new administration which asserts white Anglo-Saxon supremacy,' a government statement read.
The offer of a meeting came shortly after Maduro forcefully warned the US president that Venezuela 'will never give in.'
Yesterday, Credit Suisse bank banned the trading and use of Venezuelan bonds, citing 'recent developments and the political climate' in the country.
The bank will no longer trade, nor accept as collateral, two specific types of Venezuelan securities as well as any bonds the country issued from June 1 going forward, according to a company spokeswoman who was not authorized to give her name.
Further, any businesses who wish to do business with Venezuela and deal in any assets there will have to go through additional screening.
Venezuela has been rocked by protests over the governance of President Maduro. Pictured: A woman demonstrating in Valencia, Venezuela
Anti-government activists stand near a barricade burning in flames in Valencia on Sunday last week
Unrest: A member of the national guard fires his shotgun at the crowds during a protest against President Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, last month
Venezuela is facing mounting international criticism over a crackdown on opponents and moves to consolidate power, including the selection of the all-powerful assembly controlled by Maduro.
It is also in the midst of a severe economic downturn caused by low oil prices and poor government policies. The country's bonds are one of the few ways the current government is able to raise money to support its collapsing economy.
But as the country's political crisis has worsened, the bonds issued by the government as well as the state-owned oil company PDVSA have become a point of contention and concern for investors who increasingly worry they are supporting an oppressive regime as well as a country that is a great risk of defaulting on its debts.
Pictured: Maduro addressing the assembly today, with pictures of former leader Huge Chavez (right) and independence fighter Simon Bolivar (left) in front of him
Pictured: David Smolansky, mayor of El Hatillo district, who was ordered to be imprisoned for 15 months for not obeying orders to shut down the protests
Goldman Sachs came under political pressure earlier this year for buying a reported $2.8 billion in Venezuelan bonds on the open market at a significant discount.
National Assembly President Julio Borges, leader of the country's opposition, has sent more than a dozen letters to leading global banks warning them of the risk to their reputations and bottom line if they throw a lifeline to Maduro.
On Wednesday, a fifth opposition mayor in Venezuela was removed from his post, part of what the opposition is calling a campaign to illegally remove anti-government mayors from their elected posts.
Pictured: President Maduro
A small group of young people set up barricades of strewn metal objects in the eastern Caracas district of El Hatillo yesterday to protest the Supreme Court decision to order Mayor David Smolansky imprisoned for 15 months for not obeying orders to shut down the protests.
We can't allow 'the dictatorship to hunt down, imprison and treat our mayors like criminals,' said Andres Paez, a lawyer who joined the protest.
Smolansky issued a video from an undisclosed location in which he called on residents of the El Hatillo to take to the streets to uphold their right to representation against what he called the government's 'political firing squad.'
'My commitment to restoring freedom in Venezuela remains intact,' Smolansky said.
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. According to their figures, about a third of the nation's opposition mayors have been removed from office or jailed or are under threat of arrest.
Gerardo Blyde, an opposition mayor of Baruta, a city of more than 350,000 near the capital, equated it to a sort of 'Russian roulette.'
'This is a continued coup against municipal public authority,' he said.