On Thursday, March 31, The Quincy Institute’s Responsible Statecraft published an op-ed by WOLA Director for Venezuela Geoff Ramsey and WOLA Senior Fellow and Charles A. and Leo M. Favrot Professor of Human Relations at Tulane University David Smilde. In the op-ed, Ramsey and Smilde argue that the geopolitical shifts following Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, and the shift in U.S. policy towards Venezuela associated with the recent visit of U.S. officials to Caracas, presents an important opportunity for the U.S. government to provide incentives for concrete advances in the context of negotiations between the de facto Maduro government and Venezuela’s opposition.

In the article, Ramsey and Smilde emphasize the need for a coordinated and coherent message from the international community with respect to political negotiations in Venezuela, and the need for a clear space to be established for civil society and victims in the Mexico City negotiation process. As Ramsey and Smilde write:

“One of the reasons the 2019 negotiations failed was that the participants had international allies that provided better alternatives to a negotiated agreement — Maduro trusted that Russia would provide it with enough support to survive U.S. sanctions, and the interim government thought it could prod the Trump administration to intervene more forcefully. These geopolitical alternatives are changing for both sides, meaning a negotiated settlement could be more likely. All national and international stakeholders need to ensure that such an agreement prioritizes the rights of Venezuelans including their right to choose their leaders.”

Read the full article here.