US proposes interim government to break Venezuela deadlock

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Gideon Long in Bogotá and Michael Stott in London

The US government unveiled a plan on Tuesday to break Venezuela’s political deadlock, inviting President Nicolás Maduro to cede power to a new transitional government in exchange for sanctions relief and humanitarian aid as the impoverished country struggles with coronavirus.

Washington has been attempting to dislodge Mr Maduro since accusing him of stealing a presidential election in 2018. Its campaign of “maximum pressure” involves ever-tougher economic sanctions and criminal charges against key officials but has not yet delivered results.

Coming just days after the Department of Justice charged Mr Maduro in relation to “international narco-terrorism”, the new “Democratic Transition Framework” calls for the establishment of an interim Council of State to rule Venezuela until fresh elections can be held in six to 12 months.