March 5, 2019 / 10:01 PM / 19 days ago

U.S. envoy says it is hard to see role for Maduro in Venezuela's future

United States diplomat Elliott Abrams listens during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council called to vote on a U.S. draft resolution calling for free and fair presidential elections in Venezuela at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Washington’s top envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, said on Tuesday it was hard to see a role for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in the building of a “democratic Venezuela.”

“If he wanted to build a democratic Venezuela, he had the opportunity to do so, but he did not,” Abrams told reporters. “It is extremely difficult to see how he could play a positive role in a democratic election,” he said, adding that it was ultimately up to Venezuelans to decide Maduro’s future role.

Abrams also said that imposing U.S. secondary sanctions against non-U.S. citizens or entities tied to the Maduro government was “clearly a possibility,” although he said a decision had not been made on taking such a step.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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