Washington announced the conditions for lifting of economic sanctions against Venezuela.
The United States yesterday announced conditions for lifting sanctions on Venezuela. According to the US proposal regime's leader, Nicolás Maduro and Interim President Juan Guaidó would take a step back for a "period of political transition" in Venezuela. Ambassador Elliot Abrams, who is the United States' Special Representative for Venezuela, revealed the outline of a new plane in The Wall Street Journal. The goal of the plan is "restoration of democracy" with renewed main Venezuela's institutions and involvement of the Military. Mr Abrams explained that during the transition period, it would be necessary to create "independent and balanced" institutions and appoint new Supreme Court of Justice to replace the one controlled by the current regime of Mr Maduro.
With this in mind, the United States has asked Mr Maduro to renounce executive power, to temporarily establish a "Council of State" designated by "elected members of the National Assembly of both sides", stated US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The Council would host the task of organizing new "free and fair" presidential and legislative elections within 6-12 months. The US also asked Mr Guaidó to take a step back and at least temporarily resign from the interim presidency of Venezuela in the framework of a "democratic transition". Mr Guaidó would retain the position of President of Parliament at this stage.
Secretary Pompeo also stated that Mr Guaidó, former opposition leader, could later run for president. "He is the most popular politician in Venezuela, and if there were elections today, he would have a decidedly good result," commented the head of US diplomacy at the press conference, adding that Washington has continued to support him in the past 14 months. The US as a first country recognised Mr Guaidó as interim president. "Our sanctions will remain in force and be strengthened until the Maduro regime accepts a real political transition," warned Mr Mike Pompeo. In recent months, the United States has increased sanctions against the government of Caracas. The current president of the national assembly, for his part, thanked the United States and urged Mr Maduro to accept the US proposal to form a transitional government in exchange for the lifting sanctions, because "it is the only option to overcome the crisis".
The Maduro regime rejects US proposal and launches persecution of Mr Guaidó
Mr Maduro must "take responsibility and accept the offer made by the international community, it is the only option to overcome the crisis, we will do everything possible to protect the lives of our people," concluded Guaidó.
The Maduro regime increased persecution of the Interim President in recent days. The regime's Attorney General Tarek William Saab announced the day before that State prosecutors in Venezuela have summoned opposition leader Juan Guaidó for an alleged "attempted coup d'etat" and attempted assassination. In a statement broadcast on state television, Saab said Guaidó had been summoned to appear before prosecutors next Thursday following an investigation last week into the seizure of a weapons cache in neighboring Colombia that he said was to be smuggled into Venezuela. The allegations are politically motivated to discredit Mr Guaidó in the eyes of the Venezuelans, the opposition emphasised.
The announcement of the heightened persecutions against Mr Guaidó appeared to be an attempt to distract public opinion from the US Plan for Venezuela.
Only on Wednesday afternoon, the Maduro government's replied. The regime's Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, responded with a dry "no" to the proposal made by the American secretary of state. "Venezuela's decisions are made in Caracas because we are not under the protection of either Washington or other capitals," stated Arreaza, according to which the United States "is getting lost in its labyrinth". The minister wanted to underline that all proposals will be examined "always and when they are based on the Constitution". Mr Arreaza then assured that there is no possibility that Maduro would abandon the presidency.
European Union calls for humanitarian help for Venezuela
The European Union was cautious in its reaction to the US plan for Venezuela. The Spokesperson for High Representative Joseph Borrel, who is in charge of foreign affairs, stated that the Union followed "with great attention the words of Secretary of State Pompeo", and it will assess it "in coming days".
In the same statement Spokesperson emphasised that the coronavirus crisis Venezuela would complicate already very serious humanitarian situation. "It is essential to minimise the human impact of the pandemic and that requires national solidarity and unity, political maturity and generosity." The European Union will provide such help, the statement concluded.