On June 21, the United States Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon arrived in Venezuela to meet senior opposition and government figures.
Days ago, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry promised new high-level talks to repair the bilateral ties, pressing Venezuela to allow a referendum aimed at removing President Nicolas Maduro.
(Soundbite) Jose Antonio Egido, Sociology and Politics Analyst
“No doubt, you see the statements of John Kerry. About a month ago, John Kerry openly spoke of activating the famous Inter-American Democratic Charter of OAS (to interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela). … This suggests that who leads Luis Almagro, who runs this policy within OAS, and who leads the Venezuelan opposition force in Barack Obama’s administration.”
Venezuela has suffered from sour relations with the United States, when Hugo Chavez and his successor Maduro presided over the most oil-rich country in the world.
(Soundbite) Jose Gregorio Villegas, Caracas Resident
“The government of the United States, according to the story it has told and with the roles that it has played declassified, has never stopped its action. It is interventionist and imperialist. It is not due to its people, but the government. I think that the U.S. citizens are conscious and reasonable, knowing what we want is peace. The world runs better with peace, not war.”
Though the United States remains the largest export destination for Venezuelan oil, the political line between the two countries has been harsh, and sometimes even antagonistic.
(Soundbite) Luis Blanco, Caracas Resident
“We are waiting (for the government) to act on the situation we have, which is critical right now in Venezuela. We are really in a bad situation. This never happened here before in Venezuela. OAS (and the U.S.) hopefully will apply the Democratic Charter on us. Let us see if they can apply it right, because here the government really wants to do everything as it wants (independently).”
In 2015, the United States declared Venezuela as a threat to its national security and in effect imposed sanctions on some senior officials. In June this year, Maduro expressed willingness to start high-level talks with the United States, while defending Venezuela’s sovereignty.
(Soundbite) Jose Alvarado, Presidential Commissioner for Social Security Mission
“We do not expect anything outside our world. We know and are aware of the support of the vast majority of the countries, and we are confident that Venezuela will be strengthened, as we have survived so many attacks.”
(Soundbite) German Valencia, Caracas Citizen
“Well, it is that America has nothing to do with it. America has to be in your own country, and leave Venezuela to solve their problems by themselves.”