Venezuela's Maduro Calls For Talks With Obama

With demonstrations flaring, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has asked the United States to help resolve the conflict.

Venezuela's Maduro Calls For Talks With Obama
Wikimedia Commons / Maria Alejandra Mora

Civil unrest is roiling the streets of Venezuela, where clashes between protesters and government forces in the capital of Caracas have resulted in at least eight deaths.

The student-led demonstrations are entering their tenth day, aiming to unseat newly-elected president Nicolas Maduro. The protesters largely follow Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition politician jailed by Maduro’s regime just days ago. (Via CNN)

Lopez was arrested on Wednesday on suspect charges of inciting violence, asking his wife to take over in his absence. With protests intensifying, Lopez's supporters are wearing white to represent non-violence. (Via Al Jazeera)

On Tuesday, Maduro's forces raided the opposing Popular Will party's headquarters, looking to arrest Carlos Vecchio, Lopez's second-in-command.

Despite the calls for peace, the streets of Caracas are growing increasingly dangerous. Recently, Maduro openly threatened to bring out the tanks.

Slate's William Dobson lamented Maduro's lack of Chavez-like political strategy, saying "When Chavez engaged in this type of loaded, high-stakes talk, it was part of his strategy. When Maduro does, it's part of his weakness."

Still, protesters are undeterred by the violence. As opposition leader Maria Corina Machado told Time, "The government has taken off its mask in terms of what it’s willing to do in order to silence its citizens. But even though those threats are there, citizens are coming out."

President Obama criticized the Maduro regime's handling of the protests after the country expelled three U.S. diplomats from the country on Tuesday. (Via USA Today)

OBAMA: "Rather than trying to distract from its own failings by making up false accusations against diplomats from the United States, the government ought to focus on addressing the legitimate grievances of the Venezuelan people." (Via C-SPAN)

On Friday, Maduro responded to Obama's remarks, calling for both countries to meet and talk about the conflict.

MADURO: "I call for a dialogue with President Obama. I accept this challenge. Let's initiate a high-level dialogue and let's put the truth out on the table." (Via BBC)

President Maduro previously accused the United States of destabilizing his regime. (Via RT)