The United States confirmed that it will respect Venezuela’s right to end the so-called “interim presidency” of Juan Guaido, but vowed that this does not mean recognition of President Nicolás Maduro.
At a press conference on Tuesday (3), US State Department spokesman Ned Price described Guido as a “2015 member of the National Assembly” and said he respects the body’s decisions.
“Guaidó is a member of the 2015 National Assembly, which we recognize as the last democratically elected institution in the country. As a member of the 2015 National Assembly, we will continue to coordinate with other democratic actors. Venezuela,” he said.
::What’s Happening in Venezuela::
After two votes held at the end of December, 104 former deputies assembled in Venezuela’s parallel National Assembly decided to remove Guaidó’s fictitious position, marking a radical change in the political strategy of this sector of the Venezuelan opposition.
By approving the changes, the United States ends four years of uninterrupted support given to Guaidó’s “interim period” that began in 2019 when Republican Donald Trump was president. Since then, Washington stopped recognizing President Nicolás Maduro and began to recognize as legitimate only officials associated with the opposition, a move that has been followed by several European and South American countries.
This allowed Venezuelan state institutions and funds blocked abroad to flow into the hands of a political group commanded by Guaidó. The CITCO refining network and gold reserves at the Bank of England are some of the assets controlled by the opposition.
::Venezuelans take to the streets to demand the release of government assets frozen abroad::
Regarding the future of these assets, Price said on Tuesday, “National legislators are debating among themselves how to deal with overseas assets, [e os EUA irão] Continue to discuss this topic with them.”
The U.S. position on the opposition’s next steps is crucial in determining the future of Venezuelan assets abroad, as establishing official channels with the Maduro government could open the way for the return of assets to the state.
However, despite the end of Guaidó’s “mandate,” Price vowed that the United States would classify Maduro as “illegitimate” and continue to implement the “sanctions program against Venezuela.”
In 2022, tensions between the US and Venezuela eased for the first time since their separation in 2019. President Joe Biden’s government sent a special team on two occasions to speak directly with Maduro’s government. The energy supply emergency created by the war between Russia and Ukraine has accelerated the West’s willingness to rethink its diplomatic stance on Venezuela.
In November, government and opposition representatives reopened the negotiating table in Mexico and signed an agreement to release about US$3 billion in funds blocked abroad.
::Less sanctions, more oil: What Chevron’s return to Venezuela means::
The return to the dialogue table has been celebrated by US diplomacy, which insists on making progress achieved in Mexico a prerequisite for suspending sanctions. In November, energy giant Chevron was authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to resume extracting and marketing Venezuelan oil.
Good signs between Washington in Caracas were celebrated by Maduro Interview The President went so far as to tell journalist Ignacio Ramonet that “the country is fully prepared to take a step towards the process of normalizing diplomatic, diplomatic and political relations with this government and other governments of the United States,” published last Sunday (1).
Editing: Thales Schmidt
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