On March 26th, the United States Department of Justice unsealed indictments against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and several top government officials. This was a highly unusual move. It is rare for the United States Department of Justice to seek the arrest and extradition of a foreign head of state. But the United States government does not consider Nicolas Maduro to be the legitimate president of Venezuela. Rather, the Trump administration, along with several key allies in Europe and Latin America back a rival politician, Juan Guaidó who they consider to be the rightful leader. This has lead to a deepening crisis in which Nicolas Maduro controls most of the key levers of power in the country, including the military and security services, while Juan Guaidó has the backing of key western powers.
Such was the situation in Venezuela when Attorney General William Barr announced the indictments against Maduro and top regime officials for drug trafficking and narco-terrorism.
What impact will these indictments have on the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela?
On the line to discuss these indictments and what they mean for the crisis in Venezuela is Keith Mines, senior advisor for Venezuela and Colombia at the United States Institute of Peace. We also discuss how COVID-19 is impacting domestic politics in Venezuela and what role the United Nations might play in helping mediate a resolution to this crisis.
If you have 25 minutes and want a deeper understanding of what comes next for Venezuela, have a listen