Biden Informs Venezuela’s “Interim” President Juan Guaido Of Plans To Ease Sanctions On Maduro
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido was apparently reminded that Washington hasn’t forgotten about him after the White House in the last two months began reaching out to the Maduro government in a desire to tap alternative oil supplies given the ongoing war and Ukraine and (at this point partial) European embargo on Russian oil. For a couple of years starting in 2019 as the Trump administration was actively pursuing regime change in Caracas, Guado was in the international media spotlight as US-recognized “interim president”. But since then, and through the start of the Biden administration, he’s been largely forgotten about.
VOA News reported that “President Joe Biden reaffirmed U.S. support for Juan Guaido during a phone call Wednesday, despite not inviting the Venezuelan opposition leader to the Summit of the Americas, a gathering of leaders from the countries of North, South and Central America and the Caribbean that he is hosting in Los Angeles.”
So there are no Maduro government representatives at the LA Summit of the Americas and no ‘interim president’ Guaido either. On top of that, no top leaders from Mexico, Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, and Antigua and Barbuda.
In its Wednesday evening live network coverage, even CNN admitted the US-hosted Summit of the Americas is already off to an awkward start, given embarrassing situation for the White House that the president of Mexico has boycotted, over the fact that the Venezuelan and other governments run by “dictators” weren’t invited.
As for the Guaido phone call, it wasn’t even made from the Oval, but while Biden was en route on Air Force One. In a readout, Biden said he stressed “recognition of and support for the 2015 democratically elected National Assembly and Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela,” and affirmed support for “Venezuelan-led negotiations as the best path toward a peaceful restoration of democratic institutions, free and fair elections.”
We should note that making the call just before arriving at the summit was like being phoned by a “friend” who’s en route to a party you’re not invited to.
And most importantly, the readout said Biden informed Guaido of plans for likely sanctions relief, though we wonder what role the opposition representative has in any substantive negotiations:
President Biden reaffirmed the United States is willing to calibrate sanctions policy as informed by the outcomes of negotiations that empower the Venezuelan people to determine the future of their country.
To recap, the Biden White House hopes to free up Venezuelan oil if Maduro is cooperative – but still snubbed him by refusing a Summit of the Americas invite. Simultaneously, Guaido has been reaffirmed in his non-real, completely irrelevant role as “interim president” – but he wasn’t invited either.
And meantime, amid the contradictions on Venezuela, the single most influential Latin American country’s’ president, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has quite visibly protested the summit. Oh but there will be “civil society activists” there in Venezuela’s stead…
“We thought the best way to lift up our desire to see that Venezuelan-led dialogue and, ultimately, a better future for the Venezuelan people was to focus on the invitations to Venezuelan civil society activists, who will participate in various aspects of the summit,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One.
There were some awkward moments for US admin officials surrounding the Venezuela question…
Almagro confronted today: “I believe you still ridiculously say that Juan Guaido is the president of Venezuela! That is an outrage and it’s an insult, an insult to the democracy and the sovereignty of the people of Venezuela!” pic.twitter.com/Uc83Y2jBw6
— Kawsachun News (@KawsachunNews) June 8, 2022
Biden is formally unveiling the “Americas Partnership” during the summit, which the administration has described as a five-pronged effort to build-up regional economies by advancing free-trade agreements and addressing “inequality and lack of economic opportunity and equity.”
On Friday Biden is expected to attempt to tackle the immigration crisis via what’s called the “Los Angeles Declaration on Migration” – which so far has only been hinted at as a “comprehensive” approach to addressing the crisis.
Thu, 06/09/2022 – 12:05