US says it still considers Maduro ‘illegitimate’ after dissolution of Venezuela’s interim government

The United States still does not consider Nicolás Maduro the legitimate president of Venezuela, said the State Department, which continues to recognize opposition to the 2015 National Assembly, which recently dissolved Juan Guaidó’s “interim government”.

“Our approach to Nicolás Maduro has not changed. He is not the legitimate leader of Venezuela. We recognize the 2015 National Assembly,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

The United States does not recognize Maduro as president for considering his re-election in 2018 fraudulent and has since supported opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who proclaimed himself “interim president” on January 5, 2019.

An international support that has diminished

Since that date, Guaidó has gained control of Venezuelan assets stranded abroad, but has never managed to assume real power despite widespread international support that has faded over time.

Last week it received a coup de grace: the opposition itself decided to end the interim government starting from 5 January.

A turning point that has not changed Washington’s position, despite the fact that it has recently held negotiations with the Maduro government for the exchange of prisoners, and in the midst of the oil crisis triggered by the sanctions imposed on Russia for having invaded Ukraine.

Relations based on “democratic aspirations”

“We will continue to enforce our program of sanctions against the Maduro regime,” Price said, specifying that it will be evaluated “on the basis of what they see from the Maduro regime in terms of promoting the possibility for the Venezuelan people to realize their democratic aspirations”.

In this sense, Price described the negotiations resumed in Mexico between the Maduro government and the opposition as positive.

International support for Guaidó has been accompanied by sanctions against Venezuela as a pressure mechanism against the socialist ruler, who estimates that some $24 billion from the Venezuelan state is stranded abroad.

“Members of the National Assembly are discussing with each other how to oversee these overseas assets and we will continue to discuss with them on that front,” Price said.

Venezuela’s last democratic institution

The spokesman said Guaidó “continues to be a member of the 2015 National Assembly”, which “is the last democratically elected institution in the country”.

“We will coordinate and continue to coordinate with him as a member of the 2015 National Assembly and with other like-minded Venezuelan democratic actors to support the Venezuelan people and their aspirations for democracy, the rule of law and prosperity,” he said. stated.

The United States will continue “to work with the international community to help address the Venezuelan crisis and move towards free and fair elections in Venezuela in accordance with the wishes and desires of the Venezuelan people” who “need a clear timetable” for holding of the elections, he added. .

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