Elliott Abrams, the U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela, announced a plan to lift sanctions on Venezuela should the Maduro regime step aside to permit a transitional government to be elected until full elections can take place in late 2020. If there is transition of power, individual sanctions on dozens of Venezuelan government officials could be lifted as soon as they give up their positions under the transition. Additionally, broader economic sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector and state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), would be lifted, but only after Maduro steps down and all “foreign security forces”, including those from Cuba and Russia, are withdrawn.” The details are set to be announced today, March 31, 2020.
In order for the framework for transition of power to be successful, there would need to be a power-sharing between the Guaido-led opposition and Socialist lawmakers, who would have to turn on Maduro. The proposal would not provide for relief from criminal indictments against Maduro and alleged accomplices, and the plan also calls for the creation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The U.S. government believes offering sanctions relief may create an opportunity for transition since Venezuela is currently under immense pressure due to U.S. sanctions, lowering world oil prices, and the coronavirus pandemic.