What is the best way for Venezuela to restore democracy?
Venezuela is at a crossroads. The country has been on the path to authoritarianism since Nicolás Maduro took power in 2013.
Since then, he has led Venezuela down a road of economic and democratic destitution.
Interim President Juan Guaidó is offering Venezuela a new path, one that leads the country back to democracy and prosperity. Most of Venezuela’s neighbors support Guaidó as he begins to forge this new path.
In March, Guaidó called for an emergency government to help move Venezuela past the current political crisis. Soon after, the U.S. government proposed a plan — the Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela — that calls for both Maduro and Guaidó to cede authority to an emergency governing council, called the Council of State.
This five-person governing council would be a temporary executive branch that oversees the democratic transition and ensures that all levels of the Venezuelan government are following the steps of the framework.
These representatives would be from both sides of the current divide and would be agreed upon by both parties to oversee a free and fair democratic electoral process.
As the framework details, both Maduro and Guaidó would step aside during this transition period while a new electoral system is established. This would allow them to be legitimate candidates for the presidency during the next election cycle, should they choose so.
The framework culminates when Venezuelans can participate in free and fair elections.
Once this happens, the U.S. will review and possibly lift sanctions on individuals linked to the Maduro regime.
This is only a suggested proposal. The true path forward must be agreed upon by all Venezuelans through free, fair, and credible elections.
“Democracy will not be intimidated,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 3. “We remain committed to supporting Venezuela’s peaceful, democratic transition and free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections.”