The U.S. government is preparing to reopen its embassy in Caracas, as they believe a transition is coming to Venezuela, U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said on April 30.
“We think a transition is coming in Venezuela, and we need to be prepared for it,” Abrams said in an online interview with the Hudson Institute research center.
On April 29, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press conference that he had asked his team to be ready to reestablish the diplomatic presence in Venezuela.
On April 30, Abrams noted that the United States does not foresee returning to Venezuela if Nicolás Maduro remains in power, but they are confident that pressure around the illegitimate president will increase rapidly.
“I think the situation, in the short run […], is going to get worse internally,” Abrams said.
The diplomat warned that, due to the criminal charges Maduro faces in the United States, he should be “extremely careful” with his trips. If he goes to a country that has an extradition treaty with the United States, he might be arrested, Abrams said.
With the fall in oil prices — the country’s main source of wealth — along with U.S. sanctions, and now the coronavirus pandemic, Venezuela is in a serious socioeconomic situation.
The U.S. government has sent $9 million to help the country deal with COVID-19 and has unfrozen Venezuelan state funds to be used by Juan Guaidó’s interim government.
“Guaidó has access to some funds in the U.S. that were left over from the Central Bank of Venezuela,” Abrams said.
In late March, the interim government announced it would donate $20 million from U.S. accounts to international organizations to provide coronavirus assistance in Venezuela.
On April 30, Abrams said that organizations such as UNICEF and other agencies are “afraid to accept the money because they are afraid of repercussions from the regime.”