16:30 GMT09 May 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The future of Venezuela must include the departure of President Nicolas Maduro, a Department of State spokesperson told Sputnik on Tuesday regarding the start of negotiations between the Venezuelan leader and the opposition.

    "Any discussion of a transition must include Maduro’s departure as a precondition for elections... The only thing preventing moving forward with a transitional government, suspension of sanctions, and preparation for elections is Maduro’s refusal to step down to let the transitional government takeover. The only obstacle to a resolution satisfactory to everyone else is Maduro," the spokesperson said.

    The spokesperson added that the United States believes Maduro has shown he is unwilling or incapable of respecting democratic processes because of his "increasing repression and attacks against democratic institutions."

    The United States does not support actions by the Maduro government that allegedly leave corrupt and non-democratic officials in power or that buy time for the Maduro government to consolidate its hold on Venezuela, the spokesperson said.

    Venezuela has been suffering from a severe political crisis since late January when US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president in a bid to oust Maduro from power. Maduro has accused Guaido of being a US puppet, working with Washington to orchestrate a coup so that the United States can control Venezuela’s natural resources.

    Venezuela, U.S. Department of State, Nicolas Maduro, U.S
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