Venezuela's Guaido in Colombia to meet with Pompeo: lawmaker
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Caracas (AFP) –
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has traveled to Colombia to meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an opposition lawmaker said Sunday.
Guaido's move comes amid an overture by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for direct negotiations with the United States on an end to crippling US sanctions.
Opposition lawmaker Stalin Gonzalez told AFP that Guaido, who is recognized by the United States and more than 50 other countries as Venezuela's acting president, will meet in Bogota with Pompeo.
The US secretary of state is scheduled to arrive in the Colombian capital on Monday at the start of a Latin American tour.
Guaido has been barred from leaving Venezuela since proclaiming himself acting president a year ago after the National Assembly declared President Nicolas Maduro a "usurper."
He defied the travel ban once before, in February 2016, when he secretly traveled to Colombia and then visited several other countries to marshal regional support for his challenge to Maduro.
The United States has been Guaido's leading international supporter but the opposition bid to force Maduro's ouster has stalled.
Guaido has headed the National Assembly for the past year but faced a challenge early this month from Maduro supporters over his re-election.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Maduro said he was comfortably in control and ready for direct negotiations with the United States.
"If there's respect between governments, no matter how big the United States is, and if there's a dialogue, an exchange of truthful information, then be sure we can create a new type of relationship," Maduro told the Post.
The socialist leader said he was ready to hold talks with the US to negotiate an end to sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump intended to throttle the South American country's oil industry and force Maduro from power.
Maduro indicated that, if Trump were to lift sanctions, US oil companies could benefit immensely from Venezuela's oil.
"A relationship of respect and dialogue brings a win-win situation. A confrontational relationship brings a lose-lose situation. That's the formula," Maduro said.
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