COVID-19 Special Coverage
US to lift Venezuela sanctions following proposed government transition
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US to lift Venezuela sanctions following proposed government transition

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday announced a proposal to lift Venezuelan sanctions if the country adopts a new transitional government.

According to Pompeo, “[t]his framework calls for the establishment of [a] broadly acceptable transitional government to administer free and fair presidential elections and a pathway to lifting Venezuela-related [US] sanctions.” The plan requires Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó to relinquish power to a Council of State approved by the National Assembly. The Secretary also noted that the US proposal was built off of the other proposals already made by the current interim government headed by Guaidó.

The Council of State would become the country’s executive branch. The proposal explains that any coalition within the National Assembly with 25 percent or more seats would select two members, “one [who] must be a state governor,” of the Council. Because only two coalitions contain enough seats in the assembly, four Council members would be selected. The four members must then select a fifth member to serve as Secretary General. The Secretary General would serve as Interim President and would be barred from running for President in the next election. The next Presidential election date will be set by the Council of State and must occur within six to 12 months. Once the elections are held, and there is international consensus that the election was proper, all US sanctions will be lifted.

This announcement comes only a few days after the US Department of Justice indicted Maduro.

In Pompeo’s statement, he explained the US’ concerns regarding the Maduro regime:

The United States has long been committed to finding a solution to the man-made crisis in Venezuela. The urgency for this has become all the more serious in light of the Maduro regime’s failure to adequately prepare for and address the global COVID-19 pandemic. This framework demonstrates our commitment to helping Venezuela fully recover and ensures that the voice of the Venezuelan people is respected and included.