In spite of issuing an executive order imposing sanctions on Venezuela in March, President Obama indicates that he remains open to “direct dialogue” with the dictatorial regime that runs the country.
“I am a firm believer in diplomatic engagement, and the United States remains open to direct dialogue with the Venezuelan government to discuss any matter of mutual concern,” he said in an interview with EFE News.
Obama asserted that Venezuela did not pose a threat to the United States, but pointed to “enormous challenges” the country faced under the leadership of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.
“We do remain very troubled by the Venezuelan government’s efforts to escalate intimidation of its political opponents, including the arrest and prosecution of elected officials on political charges, and the continued erosion of human rights, as we would be troubled by such developments in any other country in the world,” he said.
Yesterday, a top adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry went to Venezuela for “a surprise meeting” with members of the Venezuelan government, according to the New York Times.