The Americas

Venezuela's Maduro announces 'surprises' in relationship with US

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in a 2014 file photo.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in a 2014 file photo.  (AP)

Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro called his U.S. counterpart  "Comrade Trump" and told his people to expect "surprises" in the relationship between the two countries.

The socialist leader also hinted a deal is in the works to provide the hunger-stricken country with food imported from the U.S. "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.

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Tensions between the U.S. and Venezuela have been on the rise for years, but Maduro has notably softened his tone ever since Trump took office.

In a military ceremony a month ago, Maduro said that "bandits" with the Venezuelan opposition were traveling to Washington to "put a bug in Trump’s ears" trying to push him into an intervention.

"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 warned that imperialism is "threatening" Venezuela.

"Imperialism is there, threatening, but here we are stronger than ever. We do not want problems with Trump, he should know that I do not want problems with his administration," Maduro said.

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Trump mentioned Venezuela only once, and briefly, during the presidential campaign and his kinship to Russia — a close ally of Maduro — had led some to speculate he isn't interested in shaking things up with the oil-rich nation.

However, the Trump administration did take aggressive action against the socialist regime 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 U.S.