Venezuelan opposition committee to conclude US tour in Washington DC

Venezuela’s opposition committee will conclude a five-day tour in Washington today. The tour, led by former Venezuelan mayor Gerardo Blyde,

Andrea Hernandez Time

Photo: Andrea Hernandez/Time

Venezuela’s opposition committee will conclude a five-day tour in Washington today.

The tour, led by former Venezuelan mayor Gerardo Blyde, has focused on building incentives for negotiations between opposition leader Juan Guaido and President Nicolas Maduro to schedule free and fair elections. Chief among them is lifting crippling economic sanctions imposed on Maduro’s government if talks begin. Likewise, Guaido has proposed a national bailout agreement to help Caracas escape from economic and political crises in his committee’s bid.

The US has been maintaining pressure on Maduro and his supporters by imposing financial and oil sanctions designed to squeeze Venezuela’s income and prevent its oil industry from being exploited.

Expect the Venezuelan opposition to move towards an agreement with Washington to gradually lift sanctions. However, a US policy shift would require major changes by President Maduro, including engaging with the opposition, paving the way for free and fair general elections, and restoring economic and political freedoms. While Maduro gave some concessions as allowing the World Food Programme to enter the country, it is unlikely that the US will lift sanctions. This will be considered by the Biden administration only if Guaido and Maduro sit at the negotiating table before the referendum of 2022.

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