The administration of President Joe Biden does not rule out the reopening of formal diplomatic channels with the government of Nicolás Maduro, according to what the State Department’s undersecretary for hemisphere affairs, Brian Nichols, revealed on Friday.
The official, in an interview with the voice of americasaid that the United States would have to see “profound changes and progress towards free and transparent elections in that country” to make a decision like that, something that he described as “very far from the reality of this moment.”
Washington this week reiterated its support to the opposition National Assembly, elected in 2015, as the “only democratic vestige of the country” and stressed that his “focus” on Nicolás Maduro, whom he classifies as “illegitimate”, has not changed.
Referring to the possible recognition of other countries to Nicolás Maduro, the official told the VOA that if the government’s treatment “pushes” towards specific ends, it would be “appropriate”.
Among the requirements, Nichols highlighted that the international community can “insist that the Nicolás Maduro regime be part of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, that it accept the recommendations of the European Union electoral observation mission and that the fundamental rights of the people”.
For the Biden Administration, he said, the important thing is to support a democratic process in Venezuela, which would go through the negotiations in Mexico between Maduro and the so-called Unitary Platform, which brings together various voices of the Venezuelan opposition.
Read also What is the unitary platform and what does it mean in the dialogue in Venezuela?
Last Sunday, in an interview with Telesur, the Venezuelan president declared himself ready to resume diplomatic relations with the US government and others.
Republican lawmakers, such as Senator Marco Rubio, have indicated that the government of Democrat Joe Biden seeks to open formal diplomatic channels with Maduro, after several rapprochements with Caracas since March 2022. The White House has publicly ruled it out.
Venezuelan assets in the US
Consulted by the VOANichols indicated that the US government does not rule out the possibility of “modifying the regulations” internally to allow the 2015 National Assembly to supervise the assets of the Venezuelan state in the United States, including the oil subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, CITGO.
The official stressed that the changes to the statute will be made “if necessary.”
We still don’t know exactly what shape it will take. [el extinto gobierno interino]because they are still debating within the National Assembly,” he said.
After the elimination of the interim government, supported for four years by the United States, the new directive of the National Assembly plans to present a commission to supervise the assets of Venezuela abroad.
Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, said that “the United States was left in a very difficult position” after the decision by parliament to end the interim government.
“These are going to have to be questions that are resolved now in the Court and they are going to be very politicized,” he told the VOA Farnsworth.
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