| 3 March 2024, Sunday |

Colombia’s president says any solution for Venezuela must come through elections

Colombian President Ivan Duque said on Monday that any solution for Venezuela’s future, which has been affected by an influx of migrants as a result of President Nicolas Maduro’s humanitarian crisis, must come through true, transparent presidential elections.

Since the weekend, a top US government delegation has been in Caracas, meeting with Maduro and other Venezuelan officials to discuss the potential of relaxing US oil sanctions in exchange for a set of demands, including Maduro’s condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The opposition in Venezuela, led by Juan Guaido, was caught off guard by the first high-level bilateral talks between the US and Venezuela in years, as his interim government, recognized by Colombia and the US, was told at the last minute.

When questioned about the idea of relaxing sanctions on Venezuela, Duque told Reuters on the sidelines of the CERAWeek by S&P Global energy conference in Houston, “This is a matter that the United States will have to deliberate on.”

“The US has a position on this (that) we have shared, which is to refer to things by their proper names. And Maduro’s regime is a dictatorship “Added he.

According to a source close to the talks, the US and Venezuelan officials made little progress toward a deal in a Saturday meeting at the presidential palace that was full of “maximalist” demands, reflecting long-standing tensions between the Western Hemisphere’s main power and one of its biggest ideological foes.

Washington is attempting to isolate Russia from one of its most important friends while also arranging alternate oil supply in case Russia’s energy industry is sanctioned further. If US trade oil sanctions against Venezuela, which have been in place since 2019, were repealed, the OPEC member country’s shipments may potentially grow.

  • Reuters