President Nicolás Maduro
By Caribbean News Now contributor
CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro has referred to his US counterpart as "Comrade Trump" and told his people to expect "surprises" in the relationship between the two countries, just as the Organisation of American States (OAS) secretary general Luis Almagro has called on member states to suspend Venezuela from the hemispheric body.
Maduro also hinted a deal is in the works to provide his hunger-stricken country with food imported from the US "at a good price”.
“We are bringing products imported by the revolutionary government from several sister nations: Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua ... and even the United States. Comrade Trump is offering me [basic food products] at a good price," Maduro said Sunday on his weekly TV show.
"There are going to be surprises," he added.
Tensions between the US and Venezuela have been on the rise for years, but Maduro has notably softened his tone ever since Trump took office.
"If you ask me, I would say I do not want a fight with Mr Trump. No. I say it [on behalf of] Venezuela, I want a relationship of respect, of dialogue, but it seems that they are pushing him and they are going to fall into the same hole the Bush clan and the Obama-Clinton clan fell into,” he said.
Trump mentioned Venezuela only once, and briefly, during the presidential campaign and his alleged ties to Russia -- a close ally of Maduro -- have led some to speculate they may influence his approach to the oil-rich nation.
However, the Trump administration did take aggressive action against the socialist regime in Venezuela by ordering sanctions against Maduro’s handpicked vice president, Tareck El Assaimi, for his alleged role facilitating cocaine shipments from the South American country.
El Aissami is the highest-ranking Venezuelan official to ever be sanctioned by the US.
On Tuesday, Almagro called on members to suspend Venezuela from the OAS
, citing the country’s continued political crisis and failure to hold elections.
“The facts have become clear. Venezuela is in violation of every article in the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Democracy and human rights are values that must be above politics and the task before us is to support Venezuela and restore the rights of the people,” he said.