Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US top diplomat Blinken talks with Guaido about ‘pressure’ on Maduro



US top diplomat Blinken talks with Guaido about ‘pressure’ on Maduro

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, DC on February 26. POOL/AFP

US top diplomat Blinken talks with Guaido about ‘pressure’ on Maduro

US top diplomat Antony Blinken on March 2 spoke with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom Washington recognises as interim president, and proposed working with allies to increase “multilateral pressure” against leftist leader Nicolas Maduro.

State department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement: “Secretary of State Antony J Blinken spoke with Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaido today. Secretary Blinken stressed the importance of a return to democracy in Venezuela through free and fair elections.”

The two spoke via video call.

Blinken called for “efforts to work with likeminded allies” such as the EU, the Organisation of American States and initiatives such as the Lima Group to “increase multilateral pressure” for a “peaceful, democratic transition” in the South American country, the statement said.

Maduro, whose 2018 re-election has been deemed fraudulent by the White House, said after President Joe Biden’s inauguration that he wanted to forge a “new path” with the US.

Relations between Washington and Caracas were tense under former president Donald Trump, who imposed crippling sanctions on Venezuela and its state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) in an effort to force socialist Maduro from power.

Venezuela’s economic crisis has caused more than five million people to flee the country.

Blinken “committed to continued US support” in his call with Guaido, Price’s statement said.

Guaido, according to a statement from his office, told Blinken he was committed to the US and other allies in seeking political solutions while increasing humanitarian assistance to Venezuela.

The statement said: “They agreed to work with the international community to achieve free, fair and transparent presidential and parliamentary elections.”

Before taking office in January, Blinken called Maduro a “dictator” and said he would continue Trump’s policy of recognising Guaido as the interim president.

Guaido declared himself Venezuela’s leader in 2019, rooting his legitimacy in his role as speaker of the opposition-led National Assembly. His claim has been recognised by more than 50 countries, including the US.

Control of the legislative body has since been won by Maduro’s forces in December 2020 elections internationally considered rigged.

The US state department also praised El Salvador on March 2 for holding “successful” legislative and municipal elections. Parties allied with President Nayib Bukele were victorious.

Washington called on “all parties to work together to resolve any remaining concerns about this election peacefully”, Price said in a statement.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and