It's time for Maduro to step aside

Last May, they had an election in Venezuela, and lots of people in and out of the country did not buy the results.

This week, a group of Latin American countries are calling on Maduro to step aside, as we see in this report from The New York Times:

Thirteen nations announced on Friday that they would not recognize the legitimacy of the new presidential term of Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, who is set to be inaugurated next week for a second time.

Diplomats from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and St. Lucia issued a joint statement after meeting in the Peruvian capital, denouncing last year's election as flawed and urging Mr. Maduro to hand power to the opposition-controlled National Assembly until another election could be held.

"The electoral process carried out in Venezuela on May 20, 2018, lacks legitimacy due to the lack of participation of all Venezuelan political actors, without the presence of independent international observers, or the guarantees and standards necessary for a free, fair and transparent process," the statement read.

The signatories, part of the so-called Lima Group – a multilateral working group of Latin American countries plus Canada that organized to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Venezuela – urged Mr. Maduro not to assume the office, saying that the only way to restore democracy was for him to step aside.

So what will Maduro do?  It depends whom you ask.  You get answers both ways.

My favorite answer came from a Venezuelan friend in Dallas.  He is here and trying to get his wife out of the country.  Back home, he was a journalist and ran into trouble with the regime over news reporting.

His position is that Maduro is waiting for a deal, or some kind of guarantee that he won't be jailed and protection for his team.

Who would be in a position to give him a sanctuary?  Cuba is out because the regime is calling on citizens to tighten their belts again.  Mexico is out because it doesn't like to get involved.  Brazil is out because new President Jair Bolsonaro would probably throw Maduro in jail with Lula.  Colombia is not going to do it.  Forget Argentina.

It leaves two options: Canada and Spain.  My guess is that Spain would be a better fit because of the natural historical relationship between the two countries.

No matter where he goes, my sense is that Maduro would like an option to get out.  The alternative is to stay as president and that's not going to work.

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Last May, they had an election in Venezuela, and lots of people in and out of the country did not buy the results.

This week, a group of Latin American countries are calling on Maduro to step aside, as we see in this report from The New York Times:

Thirteen nations announced on Friday that they would not recognize the legitimacy of the new presidential term of Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, who is set to be inaugurated next week for a second time.

Diplomats from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and St. Lucia issued a joint statement after meeting in the Peruvian capital, denouncing last year's election as flawed and urging Mr. Maduro to hand power to the opposition-controlled National Assembly until another election could be held.

"The electoral process carried out in Venezuela on May 20, 2018, lacks legitimacy due to the lack of participation of all Venezuelan political actors, without the presence of independent international observers, or the guarantees and standards necessary for a free, fair and transparent process," the statement read.

The signatories, part of the so-called Lima Group – a multilateral working group of Latin American countries plus Canada that organized to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Venezuela – urged Mr. Maduro not to assume the office, saying that the only way to restore democracy was for him to step aside.

So what will Maduro do?  It depends whom you ask.  You get answers both ways.

My favorite answer came from a Venezuelan friend in Dallas.  He is here and trying to get his wife out of the country.  Back home, he was a journalist and ran into trouble with the regime over news reporting.

His position is that Maduro is waiting for a deal, or some kind of guarantee that he won't be jailed and protection for his team.

Who would be in a position to give him a sanctuary?  Cuba is out because the regime is calling on citizens to tighten their belts again.  Mexico is out because it doesn't like to get involved.  Brazil is out because new President Jair Bolsonaro would probably throw Maduro in jail with Lula.  Colombia is not going to do it.  Forget Argentina.

It leaves two options: Canada and Spain.  My guess is that Spain would be a better fit because of the natural historical relationship between the two countries.

No matter where he goes, my sense is that Maduro would like an option to get out.  The alternative is to stay as president and that's not going to work.

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.