With no resolution in sight for Venezuela’s leadership six months after the leader of the national assembly declared himself president, the Trump administration appears willing to offer guarantees to Nicolas Maduro that the U.S. will leave him alone if he leaves Venezuela.
A senior Trump administration official suggested that the U.S. would consider not indicting Maduro if he leaves power.
“I think Maduro perhaps is looking for an exit, but he doesn’t know what it looks like, he does not know if there are guarantees to that. I believe he still thinks that if he goes to, let’s say, the Dominican Republic, we are going to come in and indict him and go after him,” the high ranking official told the Miami Herald. “I think that’s the concern and that’s the only thing there’s room for negotiation with Maduro.”
The official urged the Venezuelan leader to take advantage of the offer before it is too late, citing a critical report written by Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The report detailed human rights violations in Venezuela under Maduro, and could be used to charge him in the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The United States does not recognize that court, the official said, but other governments in the region do.
“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 said. “My concern is that it becomes a disincentive for him to find a way out. What we want to offer is … this should be your chance to turn the page, now, before it’s too late. “
The official requested anonymity to speak frankly about U.S. foreign policy towards Venezuela.