11-06-2020 Latin American Weekly Report
New US military presence in Colombia fuels tensions
The US government led by President Donald Trump is ramping up efforts to topple Nicolás Maduro just as Venezuela is poised to plunge unprepared into a public health crisis of unparalleled proportions. Ignoring calls from the United Nations to lift sanctions on Venezuela to provide some respite, the Trump administration seized upon the pandemic as an opportunity to turn the screw on Maduro. Two separate plans tabled in the space of five days by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of State (DOS), however, suggested there is no unity of purpose. While the DOJ put a bounty on the head of Maduro and his coterie, encouraging them to dig in, the DOS proposed the creation of a council of state sans Maduro to run the country for up to a year before fresh presidential elections could be held. The US action prompted Maduro to move against his main political rival Juan Guaidó.
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