[News] Biden Administration Talks to Guaidó: In ‘No Rush’ to Lift Venezuela Sanctions

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Sat Mar 6 12:49:03 EST 2021

Administration Talks to Guaidó: In ‘No Rush’ to Lift Venezuela Sanctions
Ricardo Vaz - March 6, 2021

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated support for embattled
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

According to a State Department press release
Blinken defended the importance of a “return to democracy” in the Caribbean

“Secretary Blinken described our efforts to work with likeminded allies,
including the European Union, Lima Group, Organization of American States,
and International Contact Group, to increase multilateral pressure and
press for a peaceful, democratic transition,” the statement reads.

The call, which also focused on the “urgent humanitarian needs in
Venezuela,” represented the first official contact between the
administration and the opposition politician, who thanked
<https://twitter.com/jguaido/status/1366933139084500993> Blinken and Biden
for their “firm commitment” to “restore democracy” in the country.

RELATED CONTENT: Is Biden in a Hurry to Lift Sanctions on Venezuela?

Guaidó proclaimed <https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14244> himself
“interim president” in January 2019 and secured immediate recognition from
the US and allies. He went on to lead several unsuccessful attempts to oust
the Nicolás Maduro government by force, including a military putsch
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14453>. The former National Assembly
president was also linked to a failed paramilitary invasion
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/tag/operation-gedeon> in May 2020.

Guaidó’s failure to deliver on promises to take power alongside a string
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14545> of scandals
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14656> and calls for US sanctions saw
his position increasingly questioned amidst opposition ranks, with leading
figures calling <https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/15076> on Washington to
put an end to the “interim presidency.” His standing has additionally come
into question internationally, with the European Union
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/15089> no longer recognizing him as
“interim president” after the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) won
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/15070> a parliamentary majority in
legislative elections boycotted <https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14960>
 by Guaidó <https://venezuelanalysis.com/tag/juan-guaido> and hardline

RELATED CONTENT: “America is Back” – Joe Biden’s US Foreign Policy

While there were questions on the new administration’s Venezuela policy
before the inauguration, Blinken was quick to assert that Biden would
continue <https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/15114> on his predecessor’s
path, particularly in regards to unilateral sanctions.

Under the Trump administration, the Treasury Department levied successive
rounds of sanctions <https://venezuelanalysis.com/tag/sanctions> against
several sectors of the Venezuelan economy, particularly oil
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/15095>. Despite criticism from
multilateral bodies, Secretary Blinken stated that the Biden White House
would continue the policy and look to make sanctions “more effective

The position was reiterated this week when an anonymous White House
official told Reuters
the administration is in “no rush” to lift sanctions against Venezuela,
instead calling on the Maduro government to take unspecified
“confidence-building measures.”

“If the regime undertakes confidence-building measures that show that
they’re ready and willing to engage in real conversations with the
opposition… if they’re ready to take serious steps, then we will consider
the alleviation of sanctions,” the official was quoted saying.

The US official went on to accuse the Venezuelan government of “actively
preventing the delivery of humanitarian assistance.” However, a recent
report <https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/15118> from the US Government
Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that Treasury coercive measures have
been an obstacle for the delivery of humanitarian aid.

UN Human Rights Rapporteur Alena Douhan
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/15123> presented preliminary findings
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/15126> after a recent visit to
Venezuela, determining that sanctions have a “devastating” impact on the
Venezuelan population and calling for the measures to be “lifted and

A group of 26 US Democrats led by representatives Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and
Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL), and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) likewise
penned a letter urging <https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/15121> the Biden
administration to revise its sanctions policy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

*Featured image: Before taking office, Blinken called Maduro a ‘dictator’
and said he would continue recognizing Guaido as the interim president
[File: Manuel Balce Ceneta/Pool via Reuters]*

by Ricardo Vaz


Ricardo Vaz

Ricardo Vaz is a political analyst and editor at Venezuelanalysis.com
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