White House: US Offer to Nicolás Maduro ‘is too generous’
By Carolina Valladares/Voice of America (VOA) May 08, 2020
In an interview with Voice of America, Mauricio Claver-Carone, senior director of the National Security Council Office for Western Hemisphere Affairs, urged Nicolás Maduro to seriously consider the plan presented by the government of U.S. President Donald Trump to create a transitional government.
Neither Maduro nor Interim President Juan Guaidó will be part of this plan.
Claver-Carone, who is also a security adviser for Trump, said that the White House’s proposal is “too generous” and warned Maduro that “no one who confronts the American legal system fares well.” On March 26, U.S. Attorney General William Barr filed formal charges against the Venezuelan leader for narcoterrorism, narcotrafficking, and corruption.
Carolina Valladares, VOA: Are the United States’ latest moves in the region, including announcing an increased military presence, a sign that the U.S. is losing patience with Venezuela?
Mauricio Claver-Carone, adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump for Western Hemisphere Affairs: Undoubtedly, we currently see a regime with a leader who has basically usurped the powers of a state and put them at the service of narcoterrorism. We haven’t seen this since the 1980s, with Manuel Noriega in Panama, which creates a situation where we take seriously this risk to our neighbors, our partners, the region, and obviously to U.S. citizens.
Valladares: Maduro said he rejects the U.S. offer. What are Trump’s alternatives now, regarding Venezuela?
Claver-Carone: We’ve been very patient. Obviously, the pressure increased drastically in January 2019. The initiative offered now is generous, I think maybe too generous, so he should consider it very carefully. It’s time for common sense to prevail. They should study this opportunity closely, because opportunities like this are not always available. Nicolás Maduro probably regrets missing all the opportunities that he had three to six months ago, and we don’t want him in three or six months’ time to regret not seizing this opportunity. Let him take his time, not too much time, but I hope he uses his common sense. This is not the time to see who is more macho. It’s time to see what is best for his country and for the people of Venezuela.
Valladares: You’ve used legal means, pressing charges against Maduro for narcotrafficking; diplomatic means, with proposals for dialogue; and economic means, with sanctions. What would a military approach be like?
Claver-Carone: Ultimately, we’re not operating at a one hundred percent capacity of the high-pressure efforts we began in January 2019. We don’t want to reach maximum, pressure. We would like to follow a process, which is now at 60 to 70 percent, to enable a democratic and peaceful transition. This opportunity still exists, and it’s what I would like to see executed. I think they have this initiative on the table; they have the mechanism on the table, and they should take advantage of it.
Valladares: The United States has offered a process for talks in which Guaidó and Maduro would not participate in. Does this mean the strategy to support Guaidó has failed?
Claver-Carone: Quite the contrary. We’ve reached this situation because of Juan Guaidó’s international leadership and Nicolás Maduro’s crisis. Now with the coronavirus outbreak, the international community is willing to help with easily more than $2 billion, which is what Guaidó said he needed. But it recognizes Juan Guaidó’s government, not Nicolás Maduro’s narco-dictatorship.