The United States condemns the Venezuelan presidential election, scheduled for this April 22 by Venezuela’s National Electoral Council. A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State said the elections constitute an attempt to “dismantle” democracy.
The public statement by Heather Nauert claimed the “unilateral” call for elections does not “ensure free, fair, and internationally-validated elections.” However, her statement doesn’t take into account the Venezuelan opposition reiterated calls for early elections, nor Venezuela’s public willingness to accept international election observers to participate monitoring the April 22 election.
Maduro declared Thursday morning, via Twitter that “Venezuela is open to every necessary guarantee and welcomes every international observer willing to come.”
In the statement, the U.S. government also blamed the Venezuelan government for the lack of pre-electoral agreement between the government and the opposition. “The Venezuelan government’s unwillingness to negotiate in good faith prevents an agreement to achieve credible elections.”
These comments follow the decision of Venezuela’s opposition to back out from the Democratic Coexistence Agreement, which was already signed by President Nicolas Maduro and supported by international mediator former Spanish president Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. One of the main points of the agreement was calling on a United Nations delegation to monitor the process, and securing equal access to public and private media, among other guarantees for the transparency of the electoral results.
According to the Venezuelan government, the country’s opposition has faced pressure from countries like the United States and Colombia to withdraw support for the Unasur-mediated agreement.
The move by the Venezuelan opposition comes at the same time as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has called for an oil embargo and military action against Maduro’s government throughout his Latin American tour.
Meanwhile, Peru has called for another meeting of the Lima group for February 13th, in order to assess future actions against the government of Venezuela.