Venezuela

U.S. offers sanctions relief to Venezuelan military who betray Maduro

Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro flashes a V for Victory hand gesture after arriving at the Fort Tiuna military base in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019.
Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro flashes a V for Victory hand gesture after arriving at the Fort Tiuna military base in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. Miraflores Presidential Press Office/AP

Washington on Wednesday offered relief from punishing sanctions to Venezuelan military officers who betray Nicolás Maduro.

In a tweet, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton urged military officers to back interim President Juan Guaidó or suffer the consequences.

“The U.S. will consider sanctions off-ramps for any Venezuelan senior military officer that stands for democracy and recognizes the constitutional government of President Juan Guaidó,” Bolton wrote. “If not, the international financial circle will be closed off completely. Make the right choice!”

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The offer comes as Guaidó — who began assuming executive powers on Jan. 23 in defiance of Maduro — has been offering the military amnesty for past crimes in return for their support. While several military officers have defected, the tactic didn’t turn into the groundswell of support that some were hoping for.

The United States has slapped more than 65 current and former Venezuelan officials with sanctions, including many of the military’s high command.

The United States, Canada, Colombia, Brazil and dozens of other nations recognize Guaidó as the country’s legitimate president, arguing that Maduro is holding onto power through fraudulent elections. Maduro, on the other hand, accuses the United States of trying to topple his administration.

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Jim Wyss covers Latin America for the Miami Herald and was part of the team that won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for its work on the “Panama Papers.” He has lived and worked in Latin America for 20+ years but still can’t dance.
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