- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 25, 2019

Elliott Abrams, President Trump’s envoy on the crisis in Venezuela, on Thursday outlined three points he said must take place for the country to see its way out of the political and economic repression under socialist President Nicolas Maduro: an inclusive government, a comprehensive and professional military, and a change in the nation’s economic structure.

With the Trump administration and many regional allies demanding Mr. Maduro step down in favor of opposition leader Juan Guaido, Mr. Abrams also cautioned that Venezuela faces a long road to recovery from its economic and humanitarian catastrophe.

Even if Mr. Maduro were immediately removed from power, “the situation will get worse before it gets better,” he said. “The economic recovery cannot be achieved overnight.”

Speaking at an Atlantic Council event in Washington, Mr. Abrams called on the Venezuelan people, specifically members of the United Socialist Party which was founded by Hugo Chavez, to “request elections [and] join the national debate.”

Mr. Abrams highlighted the need for the country’s armed forces to “be well paid,” and said in a future without Mr. Maduro, “the armed forces will be fundamental and should not be linked to politics.”

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