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Biden does not insist on Maduro’s resignation, intends to negotiate but has conditions

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Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives at Cleveland Airport in Cleveland, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, for the first presidential debate against President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

As the countdown to the Trump administration enters and the Biden administration is about to come to power, the policy guidelines of the United States are expected to be adjusted to varying degrees in many parts of the world. At present, there may be such signs in Latin America.

On December 18th, local time, according to a report by Bloomberg, U.S. President-elect Biden intends to negotiate with Venezuelan President Maduro.

If the other party is willing to hold “free and fair” elections, the United States can consider relaxing or lifting some of the existing sanctions. The report believes that this “open attitude” is different from the previous Trump administration’s insistence that “Maduro must step down”, which increases the possibility of negotiations between the two sides.

On the other hand, in view of Biden’s upcoming inauguration, Maduro has also recently released goodwill and expressed positive views on the Biden team many times.

At the same time, he also called on Venezuelan political parties to unite and urge the future U.S. government to lift sanctions against the country.

According to Bloomberg, citing three people familiar with the matter, Biden’s advisers are currently preparing for possible negotiations with the Maduro government in Venezuela.

The report pointed out that the Biden team did not have the same attitude as the Trump administration when dealing with Venezuelan issues. Previously, the Trump administration repeatedly insisted that negotiations would only be held if Maduro stepped down.

Trump himself even warned that the “military option” would be used, but his staff around him did not agree. In contrast, the Biden team did not put forward such a precondition.

But according to the few sources who declined to be named, Biden also set conditions for possible negotiations: requiring Maduro to hold “free and fair” elections at home. The Biden team is studying existing sanctions against Venezuela to determine which sanctions can be intensified with the assistance of allies and which sanctions may be lifted once Maduro meets the conditions, people familiar with the matter said.

According to the report, Biden has not commented on the news at present, but an official of his transition team claimed that the Biden administration will stand with Venezuelans and support their call for the restoration of “democracy”.

The official said that the United States will seek to rebuild multilateral pressure on Maduro on the international community, together call for the release of the country’s “political criminals” and impose sanctions on officials who “corruption and human rights violations”.

The Biden team also said that the current crisis in Venezuela is the biggest diplomatic challenge facing the entire Western Hemisphere.

In recent years, more than 5 million people have fled the country due to years of economic turmoil, and social problems such as gang violence, power shortages, food crisis and so on have emerged.

Bloomberg said that one of the most difficult problems for Biden is how to respond to the demand for the “presidential position” of Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader.

In May 2018, Maduro won re-election in the presidential election. On January 10, 2019, Maduro was sworn in to officially open his second term as president, but parties including the United States, the Lima Group (LIMA), the Organization of American States (OAS) and others have refused to recognize the election results.

Guaidó, as the “leader of the opposition” and the speaker of the Venezuelan Congress, refused to recognize Maduro’s presidential legitimacy, calling him a “power usurper” and fraud in the election.

Since then, Guaidó has also been “self-supporting president”, and more than 50 countries, including the United States, have successively recognized him as the “provisional leader” of Venezuela.

However, Guaidó, once “unlimited scenery”, is declining over time, and even some of his allies are unwilling to support the so-called “provisional president” indefinitely.

In January this year, Guaidó also lost the position of Speaker in the parliamentary vote, losing an extremely important political capital. Palau, supported by Maduro, became the new speaker.

It is worth noting that Maduro has also recently thrown an “olive branch” to Biden, who is in power.

On November 7, Biden declared his victory after the election. Maduro was one of the first national leaders to send congratulations. He tweeted: “Venezuela is ready to engage in dialogue and understanding with the people and the government of the United States.”

On December 6, Maduro, speaking of the U.S. election, called on the opposition to “take advantage of Trump’s defeat” and joined the Venezuelan government in urging the new U.S. government led by Biden to lift sanctions on Venezuela.

And there is also concern about whether Biden will reverse Trump’s Venezuelan policy.

According to the analysis of AFP’s November 10th issue, Trump’s defeat “marks the end of the tough pressure on Maduro”, and the article predicts that Biden’s presence in the White House may “pave the way” for a solution to the Venezuelan crisis, and “the strategic change is predictable”.

On December 6th local time, the Venezuelan National Congress (Parliament) held elections.

After the election vote counts, the election data showed that the election coalition of the ruling United Socialist Party led by President Maduro won 91% of the seats in Parliament. The new parliament has 277 seats, and the United Socialist Party accounts for 253 seats.

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