In a strategy straight out of Castro's playbook, Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro is calling for talks with U.S. President Barack Obama, while (with the help of Castro) continuing to imprison, beat, torture and kill opposition leaders and activists.
For Castro and Maduro, talks with the U.S. serve a dual purpose: it gains them legitimacy and makes their opposition irrelevant.
That is what proponents of unconditional engagement don't seem (or want) to understand.
Let's hope the U.S. isn't foolish enough to come to Castro and Maduro's rescue.
The only people Castro and Maduro need to talk with at this time -- and not brutally repress -- are their domestic opponents.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called Friday on the United States to exchange ambassadors just days after expelling three American diplomats from the country.
The request came during an hours-long news conference aired on state-run TV, where Maduro called on President Barack Obama to begin talks, even as he repeatedly accused the United States of interfering in Venezuelan internal affairs and stoking sometimes violent anti-government protests in recent days.
"I call for a dialogue with you, Obama," Maduro said. "You can designate (U.S. Secretary of State John) Kerry or whoever you want to come to this dialogue and I will send my foreign minister ... for this high-level meeting."
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