Unites States vice president Joe Biden has reportedly been in talks with the President of Venezuela over the possible release of political prisoners.
Joe Biden was able to find some time to speak with the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to release political prisoners and reportedly urged for action to be taken soon.
The two important political figures met on the sidelines of the official inauguration of the president of Brazil according to a report from EFE.
The Efe report states that the meeting between the two men was considered to be courteous but that thanks to its impromptu nature the meeting only lasted for around three minutes.
The meeting was actually initiated by an aide of Maduro’s aides, who is said to have approached the delegation from the US during a reception which followed the inauguration for the swearing in of the President Dilma Rousseff for a second term as leader of Brazil.
According to EFE, Maduro told Biden that Venezuela wants “a better relationship with the United States” and the vice president assured him President Barack Obama’s administration was also interested in improving ties.
What followed was that Biden told Maduro that the most important thing Venezuela needs to do to lay the basis for better relations is to release political prisoners, the U.S. official said.
The prolonged detention of political prisoners in Venezuela has long been an issue strongly opposed by the White House and those in Washington. The US has openly opposed the holding of members of the political opposition including Leopoldo Lopez, Enzo Scarano and Daniel Ceballos, as well as the serious charges Caracas leveled last month against lawmaker Maria Corina Machado.
Although the conversation was described as being “fluid,” it is said that Biden has no plans to initiate a high-level dialogue with Venezuela, according to the U.S. official who spoke in confidence to EFE.
The State Department will continue taking the lead in contacts with Venezuela and in encouraging “a genuine dialogue” between the Maduro government and the opposition, Biden’s aide told Efe.
Maduro, who remained in Brazil an additional day for talks with Rousseff, commented on his exchange with Biden to reporters.
“We ask the United States – I said it to Biden and we have said it to the United States a thousand times, in public and private – that we want relations of respect, nothing more,” the leftist Venezuelan president told reporters in Brasilia.