Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro canceled talks scheduled with the democratic opposition in Barbados this week, citing the latest round of sanctions imposed by the Trump administration against his socialist regime.
In a press release, the Maduro regime accused President Juan Guaidó of “celebrating, promoting, and supporting harmful actions against the sovereignty of our country, and [against] the most elementary human rights of its inhabitants” over his alleged support for sanctions imposed by the United States.
“Although the opposition delegation designated by Deputy Juan Guaidó is already in Barbados for the round of talks scheduled for this week, President Nicolás Maduro Moros has decided not to send the Venezuelan delegation on this occasion, because of the serious and brutal aggression perpetrated in a continuous and artful manner by the Trump administration against Venezuela,” the statement read.
Maduro is not the legitimate president of Venezuela, as his term expired in January and the election he claims extended his tenure is widely recognized as fraudulent. The National Assembly appointed Guaidó interim president following the expiration of Maduro’s term, but he has failed to gain control of the military or seize the presidential palace from Maduro, rendering him largely powerless.
Maduro also took to state television to confirm his absence, blaming the sanctions on the country’s “racist opposition” and effectively issuing declarations of war.
“I’ve decided we’re not going to continue. This week, the North American imperialists went crazy. The Bolivarian fury is ready for battle,” he declared. “There is no empire that stops the glorious march of the people of Venezuela. There is no executive order, there is no blockade that can stop us. Together, as a family, we will face everything. ”
“They [the opposition] look down on us, with racism, as if we’re [America’s] backyard and there are also those who lend themselves to their plans of aggression,” he said of the opposition’s role in the imposition of sanctions.
Previous rounds of negotiations have all ended in stalemate, with Guaidó at one point admitting that he had given up negotiating with this “deadly dictatorship.” The Maduro regime has been far more optimistic about the talks than the opposition, embracing them as an opportunity to give them a false sense of legitimacy within the international community, the majority of whom recognize Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president.
During his recent trip to Peru, White House National Security Advisor John Bolton was heavily critical of the talks, arguing they were an effort by Maduro to prolong his grip on power and give the impression he is open to a democratic solution to the country’s political, economic, and humanitarian crisis.
“I don’t think these talks are serious,” said Bolton. “We see Maduro using his same old tactics, pretending to be interested in a dialogue, when we all know he is just buying time: tap, tap, tapping us all along. We will not fall for these old tricks of a tired dictator.”