Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Biden Reaffirms Support for Venezuela's Guaido - FARS

Biden Reaffirms Support for Venezuela's Guaido

(FNA)- President Joe Biden reaffirmed US support for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido in a letter Monday even in the midst of efforts to resume negotiations with President Nicolas Maduro's government.

"Under your leadership and in coalition with civil society leaders you are preserving those ideals of freedom democracy and sovereignty," Biden wrote in a letter addressed to Guaido and sent through the Office of Venezuelan Affairs in neighboring Colombia, World News reported.

Biden claimed that Guaido is guiding his country "through a peaceful democratic transition of power". The American leader told Guaido in the letter that the United States in committed to a transition of power in Venezuela.

Guaido, former president of the National Assembly, has this week led rallies, calling for new elections, after the main opposition parties boycotted the 2018 presidential election and the 2020 legislative elections.

Last month, the US and the European Union claimed they would be willing to renegotiate certain sanctions if the Venezuelans made strides toward "credible elections". Earlier this year, the White House had announced Biden is in “no rush” to remove US sanctions against Venezuela.

The administration of former US President Donald Trump imposed severe financial sanctions on Venezuela and its national oil company PDVSA in an unsuccessful effort to oust Maduro as Venezuela has plunged deeper into political, economic and humanitarian crisis.

The sanctions, which include illegal confiscation of Venezuelan assets abroad and an economic blockade, have caused enormous suffering for millions of people in the country.

Maduro on Friday accused the United States of plotting to assassinate him, stating, "Has Joe Biden signed off on Donald Trump's orders to bring a civil war to Venezuela and to kill us? Yes or no? I'm asking". The Venezuelan president was referring to a visit by CIA director William Burns and SouthCom Chief Craig Faller to Colombia and Brazil.

Venezuela descended into political turmoil after Guaido unilaterally declared himself “interim president” in January 2019, claiming that Maduro's reelection in 2018 was fraudulent. With Washington’s greenlight and help from a small number of rogue soldiers, Guaido later launched a botched putsch against the elected government.

The US and a number of its Latin American allies rushed to recognize Guaido. Several European countries also followed suit after Caracas dismissed an ultimatum they had set for a new presidential vote. In the other camp, Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and Cuba, among others, have voiced support for Maduro in the face of what Caracas views as a US-directed coup bid. The United Nations has also announced it will only cooperate with the elected government.

Washington and Caracas broke off diplomatic relations in 2019 after the White House's recognition of Guaido's mandate. The US Embassy in Caracas is closed, with matters relating to the countries' relationship now handled at an office in Bogota.

In January, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told members of the Senate that there were no plans to rescind the US recognition of Guaido as the leader of the South American nation, even though the country is still firmly under the control of Maduro.

He also stated that the Democratic administration would continue to use sanctions to “more effectively target” Venezuela, as part of a strategy aimed at pushing Maduro from power.

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