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On Sunday, Brian Nichols, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, stated that the U.S. is willing to reestablish diplomatic relations with dictator Nicolás Maduro.
“We have to see profound changes and progress towards free and transparent elections in Venezuela. I see it a long way off at the moment, but the important thing for us is to support the democratic process within Venezuela,” Nichols said during an interview with Voz de America (VOA).
According to VOA, the official referred to the possible recognition of Nicolás Maduro by other countries and emphasized that if the governments’ dealings serve specific purposes, it would be “appropriate.”
Several Venezuelan political actors spoke out against Nichols’ comments. For instance, the lawyer and director of the Casla Institute -which is leading a lawsuit against Maduro before the ICC- stressed that it would be a mistake to reestablish relations with the Chavista regime.
“Maduro’s regime is criminal”, says Tamara Sujú
In addition, she added that the U.S. demands to Nicolás Maduro will not be met: “Please. Maduro’s regime is a criminal regime. Venezuela is a Narco-tyranny without Rule of Law, nor Democratic Institutions. There will be no free and transparent elections as long as the Institutions are taken over by criminals. The PSUV is not going to lose elections,” Sujú wrote on Twitter referring to the VOA interview.
Nichols’ statements came after Venezuela’s National Assembly elected in 2015, with a majority opposition, put an end to the interim government of Juan Guaidó. In view of the situation, the U.S. said that it will remain in talks with Guaidó to promote a political change in Venezuela.
“Our approach to Nicolás Maduro has not changed. He is not the legitimate ruler of Venezuela. We recognize the 2015 National Assembly,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a press conference, adding that although Guaidó does not hold the leadership of that body, “he is still a member.”