- "It is a time that the United States and Lima Group countries offer a way out (to Maduro) in a definite time. And if you do not take it, the measures will harden much, much more,"
- Today marks six months since Trump recognized the opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela, yet Maduro remains in power.
- The mandate of Guaido as president of the National Assembly (AN, Parliament) expires on January 2020.
The US government warned Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro that he has a “short term” to leave power if he does not want to face international justice and new US measures. US officials expressed confidence that the Lima Group will send the same message soon to Chavismo.
“It is a time that the United States and Lima Group countries offer a way out (to Maduro) in a definite time. And if you do not take it, the measures will harden much, much more,” said Mauricio Claver-Carone, Senior Director of the US National Security Council’s Western Hemisphere Affairs division. “That period is immediate … and we have already communicated indirectly (to Maduro), with people he trusts. It is important that Lima Group countries also do the same,” added the adviser to the US president Donald Trump.
Claver-Carone said that the deadline given by the United States is “much shorter than the end of the year,” and said that Lima Group foreign ministers “are talking” about the same issue during their meeting in Buenos Aires. He added that the picture has changed following the report this month from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet,who denounced political repression, torture, and extrajudicial executions. “The Bachelet report is the prosecution prima facie case, particularly those countries that are subscribed to the International Criminal Court. The United States does not subscribe to that, but we are willing to give certain guarantees,” said Claver-Carone.
However, after being asked if the consequences for Maduro would be in the United States courts, the senior official spoke instead of sanctions. “The consequence is that as the president (Trump) said, we have not been tough enough yet. The sanctions…will continue to increase and will be much harder than they are,” he warned. Claver-Carone insisted that what it offers “is not a negotiation” on the future of Chavismo. “If he accepts, and is interested in those guarantees so that he can leave the country, we have said, from day one” we will help, he said.
Today marks six months since Trump recognized the opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela, yet Maduro remains in power. Claver-Carone denied that the US strategy has failed: “Quite the opposite. On January 23 until today, Juan Guaido has more power than ever, “he said. “No one ever told President Trump that this was going to be a matter of one or two weeks or one or two months,” he said.
The mandate of Guaido as president of the National Assembly (AN, Parliament) expires on January 2020, and Claver-Carone suggested that in case the legislature decides to replace him with another leader before Maduro leaves power, the US might also recognize that person as an interim president of Venezuela.