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The Trump administration may be willing to negotiate a safe exit for Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro if he agrees to step down soon enough, an anonymous source from the administration allegedly told the Miami Herald.
The source appeared to be unusually frank with a media outlet regarding U.S. policy in Venezuela, saying Maduro’s exit from power was “the only thing there’s room for negotiation” on.
The unnamed official according to the Herald, aid the Venezuelan president may well be considering stepping down as Washington continues to tighten the noose around his government with sanction upon sanction, crippling its oil industry, but he may be uncertain about whether the U.S. will “go after him.”
“The time has come to say, this is the opportunity you have, and we are willing to negotiate to close this chapter, but your opportunity is closing because now even the United Nations has created a case that could be used against you at The Hague,” the official told the Miami Herald.
The UN reference is to a report released earlier this month by the authority’s chief for human rights, Michele Bachelet, which lifts the veil on government practices aimed at silencing critics. According to information from third parties cited in the report, at least 9,000 people have been killed since the start of 2018 for “resistance to authority”.
The Venezuelan government rejected the findings, saying “The analysis is not objective, nor impartial. The negative points are privileged in the extreme and the advances or measures adapted in the area of human rights are ignored or minimized.”
According to the Washington official who spoke to the Miami Herald, this report could be used to make a case against Maduro at the U.N. International Criminal Court. While the United States does not recognize the powers of this court, South American governments do. This suggests they might refuse to offer him sanctuary if he asks for one.
“My concern is that it becomes a disincentive for him to find a way out,” the Washington official said. “What we want to offer is ... this should be your chance to turn the page, now, before it’s too late. “
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.