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PRESIDENT Joe Biden’s new administration held talks with Venezuelan opposition figure Juan Guaido on Tuesday as Washington continues its support for regime change in the South American country.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with the hapless coup-monger, reassuring him that the US was committed to an “unwavering support for democracy in Venezuela and our efforts to improve the lives of the Venezuelan people.”
But he stopped short of extending the US’s commitment to lifting life-threatening sanctions and a virtual embargo, with Mr Biden only prepared to ease them if President Nicolas Maduro makes concessions to the opposition.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said: “Secretary Blinken outlined our efforts to work with like-minded allies, including the European Union, the Lima Group, the Organisation of American States (OAS), and the International Contact Group, to increase multilateral pressure and promote a transition, democratic and peaceful.”
The US’s ongoing support of Mr Guaido has been criticised following a number of failed coup attempts, including one launched from Colombia with the aid of former Green Berets working for US-based private security company Silvercorps.
The attempt was foiled by Venezuelan forces. Luke Denman and Aaron Berry were jailed for 20 years after admitting their involvement in a plot which Mr Maduro said was planned by former US president Donald Trump.
Last year Democrat Senator Chris Murphy told the foreign relations committee that US policy towards Venezuela had been a total disaster.
“After a year and a half, Maduro is stronger, American influence is weaker, and there is no viable path to restore democracy in Venezuela. A case study in international relations malpractice,” he said.
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