The Trump administration said Tuesday it would lift tough sanctions against Venezuela if both President Nicolás Maduro and his political nemesis, opposition leader Juan Guaidó, step aside and agree to a transitional government guided by both the ruling socialists and opposition lawmakers.
The deal, announced as Venezuelans confront grave danger from the global coronavirus pandemic, is the first road map to relief from some of the harshest sanctions ever imposed by Washington. Described by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a news conference in Washington, it amounts to a power-sharing arrangement that would guarantee Maduro’s socialists — if not Maduro himself — a seat at the table of a transitional government.
U.S. officials insisted Tuesday they did not support any particular political party in Venezuela. But the move nevertheless appeared to be an attempt to set up new elections in which U.S.-backed Guaidó could run. The Justice Department indicted Maduro and several members of his inner circle last week on narcoterrorism charges, and the administration announced a $15 million reward for information leading to Maduro’s capture or conviction.In the United States, health care collapsed as the coronavirus devastated the country’s resources