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A new poll by the Datanalisis firm found Maduro’s popularity at 22% among those questioned. Datanalisis director Jose Antonio Gil spoke to the media about the firm’s findings and about the situation in Venezuela in general. Gil said:

President Maduro’s popularity doesn’t matter when it comes to taking the measures he has to take. He has to devalue [the Bolivar], increase gas prices, and tone down the rhetoric against private enterprise.

The same poll found that 60% of Venezuelans do not believe that there is – as Maduro often asserts – an “economic war” being waged against Venezuela, and the same number believe that scarcity is the country’s number one problem.

In very troubling news for the opposition, the poll also found that only 19% of Venezuelans who self-identify as members of the opposition identify with any of the parties that make up the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), the country’s opposition bloc. The bloc is made up of at least 27 different political parties, which Gil sees as a problem:

The challenge of the opposition is to create a strong party. People don’t really like the whole ’27 parties’ thing.

Gil also weighed in on the desire by opposition figures (namely Maria Corina Machado and Leopoldo Lopez) to somehow have Maduro removed from office. Gil said:

We don’t have to get rid of anyone. We have spent 200 years solving problems in Venezuela by getting rid of people. We got rid of Simon Bolivar, [Jose Antonio] Paez; we got rid of everyone, and this ‘get rid of him so I can rule instead’ attitude hasn’t solved any problems.
(…)
We have to find a way to understand one another. Every developed country has found a way for each one of its sectors to understand each another and they’ve looked for inclusive solutions.

Maduro, Biden Meet in Brazil

United States Vice President Joe Biden met briefly with Maduro during Dilma Rousseff’s inauguration in Brazil yesterday, according to an anonymous U.S. official.

According to the official, a Maduro aide approached the United States delegation and initiated the “courteous” meeting which lasted about three minutes.

Maduro apparently told Biden that while he wanted to improve relations with the United States, he was concerned about the sanctions recently placed against Venezuelan human rights violators. Biden replied that the sanctions did not target the Venezuelan people, and that Venezuela should release its political prisoners.

Speaking with reporters later in the evening, Maduro said:

What are we asking the United States? What I told Vice President Biden, what I’ve said 1,000 times in public and in private: respectful relations. Nothing more.

Biden – known for his off-the-cuff remarks- apparently told Maduro:

If I had a head of hair like yours I’d be President of the United States.

Maduro allegedly found the comment very funny.

Below, a picture of the meeting:

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