CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whose top political allies have been accused by Washington of dealing in illegal narcotics, on Friday offered to help U.S. President Donald Trump in fighting the drug trade.
Top Venezuelan officials including Vice President Tareck El Aissami and Interior Minister Nestor Reverol have been blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury on allegations they have helped move drugs from neighboring Colombia into North America.
Maduro calls those charges a smear campaign, and insists that the United States must do more to reduce drug consumption.
“President Trump, if you really want to fight drug trafficking that has destroyed U.S. youth and filled the country with drugs from Colombia, you have an ally in me,” Maduro said in a televised broadcast.
“Come find out about our experience, we can join forces.”
He did not provide further details.
Maduro has repeatedly excoriated Trump for sanctions against Venezuela, which range from restrictions on U.S. banks buying newly issued debt to barring American citizens from having any dealings with specific individuals in his government.
The Trump administration slammed Maduro’s decision to create an all-powerful legislature called the Constituent Assembly in August. The opposition and the international community decried that move as the consolidation of a dictatorship.
Maduro, who is himself under U.S. sanction, has in the past requested meetings with Trump. The White House responded to one such entreaty this year by saying it will meet with Venezuela’s president when the country returns to democracy.
(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by James Dalgleish)