Juan Guaido, the man the US pretends is the president of Venezuela, is trying to use crippling US sanctions that are imposed on his own country as leverage for talks with the government of Nicolas Maduro.
So far, the Biden administration has maintained crushing sanctions on Venezuela and has not signaled the policy will change anytime soon. Acting as if he can speak for Washington, Guaido said the US is offering some sanctions relief if the Maduro government enters talks with opposition figures, but warned the offer is not on the table “indefinitely.”
“We are willing to revise the sanctions and we have ratified that with a view to an agreement. If they don’t sit at the negotiating table again, the offer is not indefinite,” Guaido said.
Guaido, who once led a failed US-backed coup, went on to threaten tighter sanctions on Venezuela. “There is another side to the coin: the possibility of tightening sanctions, diplomatic actions, if a political solution to the conflict is not coming,” he said.
Guaido said the tighter sanctions would be “individual sanctions initially” and wouldn’t elaborate further. Virtually the entire Venezuelan government is already under US sanctions, so more individual sanctions would virtually have no effect.
First recognized by the US as the “interim president” of Venezuela in January 2019, Guaido has grown more and more politically irrelevant ever since and no longer holds a position in the Venezuelan National Assembly.