The US administration has proposed the formation of a transitional government between the authority and the opposition in Venezuela, in exchange for lifting the sanctions against it, with President Nicolas Maduro and the leader of the opposition, Juan Guaido, called to step aside.
The shift in the American position comes more than a year after the US-led campaign to topple the socialist president of Venezuela, and after the Venezuelan Public Prosecutor’s office summoned Guaido to appear before it on charges of “plotting a coup attempt” and an assassination attempt.
On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Maduro and Guaido to form a transitional government composed of members representing the two parties working to organize elections within six to 12 months, in a “democratic transitional framework.”
While the State Department announced that if this democratic transition is fully implemented, the United States and the European Union will lift the sanctions imposed on Venezuela, including the US embargo imposed on Venezuelan oil exports and on Maduro and his allies.
He will invite the International Monetary Fund and international lending agencies to work to improve the economic situation in Venezuela, which millions of people have left due to severe food shortages and other essential supplies.
Pompeo stressed that this position is not a retreat from the support of Guaido – the deputy in Parliament who declared himself interim president – expressing his confidence that the latter will win the elections if he enters the competition.
He added, however, that Guaido must step aside, in order to form a neutral and just government.
He warned that sanctions would continue with more momentum on Venezuela until the Maduro administration accepted the formation of a political transition government.
In turn, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arias strongly rejected the American proposal, and said in a statement to Colombian radio, “The decisions in Venezuela are taken in Caracas. We are not under the tutelage of Washington or any other capital.”