The Biden administration has said it will continue to formally recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as president of Venezuela, despite Nicolás Maduro clearly being the actual leader of the socialist country.
Biden’s nominee for secretary of state Anthony Blinken told Senators on Tuesday that Guaido will be the recognized leader, a policy which began in January 2019 when the opposition leader dubbed himself 'Interim President' and also 'Acting President' at the encouragement of Washington during Trump admin attempts to foment a military and popular uprising against Maduro.
During his remarks Blinken also indicated the new administration will keep up the sanctions. "We need an effective policy that can restore Venezuela to democracy, starting with free and fair elections," he said.
He said Biden will seek "more effectively target" economic punitive measures in efforts to make Maduro step aside and allow Juan Guaido to take up position, according to Reuters.
Blinkin further said he believes the US should not enter into negotiations with Maduro for the end of sanctions or some kind of relief, but instead vowed that Caracas must "really feel the pain".
Blinken says he agrees with Sen. Rubio, still supports failed coup leader Juan Guaido and regime change in Venezuela.— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) January 19, 2021
“Maybe we need to look at how we more effectively target the sanctions we have so regime enablers really feel the pain” pic.twitter.com/qtYDm0hn0O
Currently the OPEC nation is gaining help from Iran and Russia in circumventing a US oil and fuel blockade. US sanctions aim to prevent crude being exported out and gasoline being imported for domestic use (Venezuela's derelict refineries have been incapable of processing enough fuel to keep up domestic demand).
While Guaido is also recognized as president by over a dozen US allies, the majority of countries - including powerful Russia and China - do not. He's long claimed Maduro's 2018 reelection was "rigged" - something which the US has also maintained.