Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro agreed to hold free and fair general elections, prompting the United States to consider lifting sanctions on the country’s oil exports.
The agreement was reached after a couple of marathon meetings were held between Maduro and opposition parties in Barbados and Qatar.
It is not clear whether the agreement includes provisions to lift prohibitions on major opposition leaders from running for president and to allow international observers to monitor the elections.
In all circumstances we have always sought dialogue. It has not been an easy journey but thanks to the conscience and fortitude of our heroic people, little by little we are moving forward. With the signing of these agreements we are taking the first step towards the full lifting… pic.twitter.com/zam4F3sJWr
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) October 17, 2023
The US has said that it will remove the sanctions if Maduro lives up to his side of the bargain, and reimpose them if he does not.
Venezuelan authorities and opposition representatives also agreed to work with election officials to update the voter rolls, set up registration centers and organize registration campaigns.
Opposition party Vente Venezuela is set to choose its presidential candidate through a primary election likely to take place by the end of this month.
The favorite candidate among opposition parties is Maria Corina Machado. According to polling firm Meganalisis, Machado would beat Maduro by a large margin if the election were held today. However, she is currently prohibited from running for president.
The lifting of US sanctions is a major victory for Venezuelans, as it could help revive the country’s economy, which has been crippled by sanctions.