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Presidential Election: Ahead of the election, Venezuela’s Maduro says he has ‘agreed’ to resume negotiations with the United States

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CARACAS: Venezuela‘s government plans to resume negotiations with the US government this week. President Nicolas Maduro announced Monday, less than a month before a highly anticipated presidential election in which he and his party are facing their toughest challenge in decades.
Maduro, who is seeking a third term, wants the US government to lift crippling economic sanctions that were imposed last decade to topple him.He characterized the dialogue as “urgent” during his weekly TV show.
The Biden administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.
“I have received the proposal during two continuous months from the United States government to reestablish talks and direct dialogue,” Maduro said. “After thinking about it for two months, I have accepted, and next Wednesday, talks will restart with the United States government to comply with the agreements signed in Qatar and to reestablish the terms of the urgent dialogue.”
The July 28 election is shaping up to be the biggest challenge the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela has faced in its 25-year dominance that began with the presidency of the fiery Hugo Chavez. The party seeks to control all branches of government for six more years, but its base is divided, diminished, and disappointed.
Ten candidates, including Maduro, will be on the ballot. Edmundo Gonzalez Urrutia, who represents the opposition’s Unitary Platform coalition, is the only contender with a real chance of defeating the president.
Last year, Maduro agreed with the opposition coalition to work toward improving conditions for a free and fair election. But he has since changed course as the meteoric rise of opposition leader Maria Corina Machado turned into a real threat to his reelection prospects.
After he agreed, the US granted Maduro some relief from sanctions but pulled it back as his ruling party continued to use its control over all government institutions to tilt the balance, including by blocking Machado’s candidacy.
Machado’s chosen substitute was barred from the ballot, too. She and the coalition are now backing Gonzalez, a former diplomat.





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