Thirteen UN employees who were expelled from Venezuela by Nicolás
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Pedro Rances Mattey/AFP

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro uttered a defiant response to his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, after the latter's administration confirmed it will reimpose sanctions on the South American country for not making progress toward free and fair elections.

"Here's the message I want negotiators to convey to President Biden: 'if you want, I want. If you don't want, I don't want," he said in English during a televised address.

He then went back to Spanish to add that Venezuela will "continue with its economic path with or without sanctions." "We're not a gringo colony. No one is going to stop us, gringos," he added.

A State Department spokesperson said on Monday that the U.S. will reimpose the sanctions on April 18 due to the "lack of progress" in terms of "of implementing the road map's provisions."

However, Maduro then added that his administration is still engaged in conversations with the Biden administration, although he didn't give any details.

Representatives from both the Biden and Maduro had also secretly met in Mexico last week to continue the negotiations, but the outcome has not been apparently fruitful.

Despite promises of a free and fair race from Venezuela as part of last year's Barbados Agreement, the recent barring of Maria Corina Machado, opposition favorite, and her substitute, Corina Yoris, has all but quashed expectations of the kind.

Venezuela could lose a total of $2 billion in oil revenues by the end of 2024 due to the renewed sanctions, according to Luis Barcenas, the head of Caracas-based economic firm Ecoanalitica.

From October until March, the license has enabled Maduro's government to earn an additional $740 million in oil sales, according to Bloomberg.

As the Maduro government tightens its grip on the electoral process, a poll by firm Meganalisis showed that 40% of Venezuelans currently living in the country would consider leaving if the president wins another term.

The survey, based on interviews with 1,000 people across the country, also showed that a vast majority of Venezuelans (74%) consider María Corina Machado to be the most reliable and credible political leader in the country, while 72% said they would vote for her if she were allowed to compete. Machado is currently banned from participating.

In contrast, 81% of those surveyed do not want Maduro to remain in power while 10% want him to do so, and 9% said they do not know.

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