U.S. weighs policy on Venezuela; must decide whether to ease up on sanctions seeking to isolate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government is intensifying efforts to court the Biden administration as the new U.S. president weighs whether to risk a political backlash in Florida and ease up on sanctions seeking to isolate the socialist leader.

In the past two weeks, Maduro conceded to longstanding U.S. demands that the World Food Program be allowed to establish a foothold in the country at a time of growing hunger. His allies also vowed to work with the U.S.-backed opposition to vaccinate Venezuelans against the coronavirus and have met with diplomats from Norway trying to revive negotiations to end the country’s never-ceasing political strife.

The frenzy of activity comes as senior U.S. officials, including Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, meet Monday as part of their continuing review of policy toward Venezuela, according to two people familiar with the plans. The interagency meeting, which has not been previously reported, will focus on whether the U.S. should take steps to support an uncertain attempt at dialogue between Maduro and his opponents, according to the people on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified diplomatic matters.

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Source: Associated Press – JOSHUA GOODMAN

 

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