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Maduro says meeting with Obama cordial

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro walks after the inauguration of the VII Summit of the Americas in Panama City April 10, 2015. | Photo: Reuters Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro walks after the inauguration of the VII Summit of the Americas in Panama City April 10, 2015. | Photo: Reuters
PANAMA CITY, April 12, 2015 - On the request of Venezuela, US President Barack Obama and Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, held unofficial talks in the margins of the Summit of the Americas, in a bid to have the United States rescind sanctions imposed on Venezuela.


Earlier in March, Obama signed an executive order, which claimed that Venezuela represented an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” opening the path to concrete sanctions against the Latin American state.

Maduro told teleSUR, in an interview that “The Summit aims at discussing and reviewing [various] issues. We believe that it was the Summit of the Truth: all the moral reasons we have that keep us united were freely expressed. Venezuela received the unanimous support of the region, and this support is a vote of peace.”

“I think that in the aftermath of the Summit, will be opened in the following days, the possibility of going through a process of dialogue with the U.S. government and explore a path of respectful relations, as well as repeal the executive order. This is the shout of Latin America,” Maduro said.

Explaining what the meeting was like, Maduro said “We told each other the truth, I would even say it was cordial.”

“I am not the enemy of the United States, nor is our people, nor [was] our Commandant [Hugo Chavez],” he added.

Every Latin American nation openly condemned Obama's stance on Venezuela via regional bodies like the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) or the United Nations of South America (UNASUR). The U.S. Department of State replied by expressing its “disappointment” the sanctions had not proved popular in Latin America.

“I am disappointed that there were not more countries to defend (the sanctions). They were not made to harm Venezuelans or the Venezuelan government,” said Roberta Jacobson, the U.S. sub-secretary for Latin America.

Over 13 million signatures worldwide have also been collected demanding Obama to withdraw his decree. Maduro stated during his speech at the Summit that he brought 11 million Venezuelan signatures with him, which will be provided to Obama “via diplomatic channels.”

In a speech delevered to the summit Saturday, Maduro emphasized that, "We are in a era of new history," alluding to the new diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba. However, he went on to criticize that many issues still have not changed. 

In an interview with the EFE news agency, U.S. President Barack Obama had admitted that Venezuela “does not pose a threat” to the United States, explaining that the executive order labeling Venezuela as a threat was only a formality so the Congress could impose sanctions on the country.

Obama told EFE, “The sanctions that we imposed were focused on discouraging human rights violations and corruption.” He added that the United States will lobby other Latin American nations to “encourage the Venezuelan government to live up to its commitment to promote and defend democratic governance.” 

The meeting between Maduro and Obama took place following Saturday’s historic meeting between Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro.

Note: This article was originally published on April 12, 2015 by TeleSUR. It has been edited and republished by News Jamaica.net. The original version, with references, can be read Here.

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