By Carlos Camacho
CARACAS -- Embattled Venezuelan head of state Nicolas Maduro sent a tweet to U.S. President Donald Trump Monday night, urging him to change his “agenda of aggression” towards the regime -- described by Washington as a “dictatorship” -- and suggesting a meeting in Caracas or Washington, D.C.
“Unheard of,” is how Argentina’s “Todo Noticias” news site characterized Maduro’s request.
“@RealDonaldTrump you campaigned promoting the non-interference in internal affairs of other countries. The moment has arrived to comply and change your agenda of aggression for one of dialogue. Dialogue in Caracas or Washington DC? Name the time and place and I will be there,” Maduro tweeted.
As of this writing, Donald Trump, who has written best selling books on "the art of the deal", had not replied.
In 2017, Maduro became the first Venezuelan sitting head of state ever to be sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury. He is also the first Latin American, as well as the first Western Hemisphere leader to achieve that dubious distinction, in a list that has included only six members ever, two of which, Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, are dead.
With more than 300 political prisoners, repeated accusations of electoral fraud, huge censorship and after more than two hundred demonstrators and security forces were killed in protests 2014-2017, Maduro has clearly shown the world time and again he is not the dialogue type. And yet, he always uses the word when dealing with the local opposition.
Maduro is also facing Canadian and European Union sanctions, the ire of the 15-nation “Grupo de Lima”, and is part of ongoing investigations by the International Criminal Court and the United Nations for human rights abuses.
Over and over he has asked the local opposition for dialogue, negotiations and a show of good faith, only to backtrack from all commitments and furthering his ongoing power grab with a new action that outrages the opposition and the international community.
With Venezuela mired in hyperinflation and violent crime, Maduro just had a complex, years-long dialogue process with the local opposition end without agreement, after a similar effort by the Vatican suffered the same fate in 2016-2017.
Hours after appealing to Trump, Maduro’s PSUV party tried to complete a vast power grab, asking for early legislative elections -- cutting short the term of the sitting, opposition led legislature by more than a year -- using the same electoral agency, CNE, that the US, the local opposition and most parties says has engaged in fraudulent practices.