US outlines plan for Venezuela transition, sanctions relief
Tuesday, 31 March 2020 MIAMI (AP) — The Trump administration is prepared to lift crippling sanctions on Venezuela in support of a new proposal to form a transitional government requiring both Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó to step aside in favor of a five-person governing council, U.S. officials said.
The one-page “Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela” was presented Tuesday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It echoes a proposal made over the weekend by Guaidó that shows how growing concerns about the coronavirus, which threatens to overwhelm the South American country's already collapsed health system and economy, are reviving U.S. attempts to pull the military apart from Maduro.
“This framework can provide a path that ends the suffering and opens the path to a brighter future for Venezuela,” said Pompeo in Washington.
Under the plan, both Maduro and Guaidó, who some 60 countries recognize as Venezuela's rightful leader, would step aside and cede power to a five-member council of state to govern the country until presidential and parliamentary elections can be held within 6-12 months. The military high command — the traditional arbiter of political disputes in Venezuela and a key plank of support for Maduro — would remain in place for the duration of the transitional government.
Four of the members would be appointed by the opposition-controlled National Assembly that Guaidó heads. To draw buy-in from the ruling socialist party, a two-third majority would be required. The fifth member, who would serve as interim president until elections are held, would be named by the other council members. Neither Maduro nor Guaidó would be on the council but Pompeo said Guaidó would be free to run for president when elections are held.
“The hope is that this setup promotes the selection of people who...