12:04 GMT18 January 2021
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    Speaking to journalists, the Venezuelan president relayed a couple of curious exchanges his family has had with the US authorities, albeit not directly, but rather through their respective envoys.

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has told a press conference, which was live-streamed on Twitter, that US Special Representative for Venezuela and Iran Elliott Abrams had offered his wife, Cilia Flores, the American administration’s unconditional support in exchange for a divorce.

    “We have always had a relationship with Donald Trump through his envoys… With Elliott Abrams also through envoys”, he started off, adding that once the US diplomat had sent a message to Cilia through “such a contact” suggesting that she divorce the Venezuelan president.

    “If you divorce Maduro, you’ll travel abroad, and we will give you all the support, Cilia”, Maduro cited the envoy as saying, noting that his wife looked him in the eye in response, hugged him, and said: “Never”.

    “This is no novella. This is truth”, Maduro told journalists.

    He went on to recount that since “they think that we are all corrupt and very wealthy”, they said she could “take all of her riches” with her, the head of the Latin American country cited Abrams as saying.

    US-Venezuelan ties have been extremely tense for the past decade, with Washington slapping stringent sanctions on Venezuela for alleged violations of human rights and rigging of elections.

    The administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump all threw their support behind the restrictions, with all three presidents backing failed coup attempts against socialist President Nicolas Maduro and his late predecessor Hugo Chávez.

    Trump's government imposed an embargo on key oil imports from the top oil-producing South American nation and seized the assets of national oil company PDVSA's US subsidiary Citgo, thereby further exacerbating the economic crisis in the nation.


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