Without Maduro and Guaido, Washington establishes a plan "for a democratic transition" in Venezuela

Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, at a press conference on Tuesday March 31 in Washington. ANDREW HARNIK / AFP

Washington created the surprise by proposing Tuesday March 31 the creation in Venezuela of a government of national unity which would bring together Chavistas and opponents before the holding of early elections. And neither the elected president, Nicolas Maduro, bete noire of the United States, nor the self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido, their ally, could be part of it. The “Framework for democratic transition”, presented by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, points to a gradual lifting of economic sanctions imposed over the past two years. They are hitting hard a country which, ruined by twenty years of Chavism and the fall in oil prices, is now facing the unprecedented health crisis of the coronavirus.

Observers and analysts are trying to interpret the American diplomatic initiative, which comes three days after Nicolas Maduro was priced at 15 million dollars (3.7 million euros) by Washington. Friday March 27, the Attorney General William Barr announced the indictment in the United States, for "drug trafficking" and "support for terrorist organizations" of Mr. Maduro and several of his relatives, as well as rewards for who would allow their arrest.

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"The scenario which is set up is modeled on that which preceded the military intervention of 1989 in Panama", considers political scientist Carlos Romero. The US military went to capture President Manuel Noriega, also accused of drug trafficking. Historian Margarita Lopez Maya points out that the American proposal "Largely repeats the terms of the agreement discussed by Chavistes and opponents during the negotiations held last year under the aegis of the Norwegian government". Negotiations that had collapsed.

Promote "respected personalities"

Unsurprisingly, Caracas on Tuesday condemned the proposal launched by Mr. Pompeo. "Venezuela is a free, sovereign and democratic country which does not accept and will never accept any guardianship of any government whatsoever. ", said the press release from the Ministry of External Relations.

Unsurprisingly, Juan Guaido, who favored the formation of an emergency government to lift the country out of the crisis, thanked the United States for their support. "We are on the right track to save Venezuela", tweeted the young leader.

The Americans hope that Mr. Guaido will remain president of the National Assembly during the transition period and that he will be able to run for the next presidential election. "If we believe the polls, it is very likely that he will win", Elliott Abrams, the state’s special envoy to Venezuela, said in response to a reporter who asked whether Washington had released Guaido.

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