Experts: Biden in power opens political solutions in Venezuela


Analysts believe that the Democrats will bet on a democratic solution, the change will consist in using the sanctions policy as a “flexible strategy” to promote “constructive and effective negotiation.


Donald Trump’s defeat in the elections marks the end of the “maximum pressure” strategy to force the departure of President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, while the arrival of Democrat Joe Biden in the White House opens an opportunity to promote a political solution. several experts said.

The government of the Republican president has been marked by tension with Maduro – whose second term is not recognized by a group of more than 50 countries, led by the United States.

But Trump’s strategy, which included the latent threat that “all options are on the table”, has not borne fruit and the Venezuelan leader remains in the Miraflores palace.

In July, Juan González, Biden’s campaign adviser, drew the main lines for Cuba and Venezuela.

González indicated in a forum in the American magazine Quarterly that a democratic government is going “take serious steps to address the humanitarian situation” and apply “smart sanctions as part of a broader international strategy to restore democracy”.

“The main focus of the United States in both countries must be to push for democratic change,” he said.

In this line, Christopher Sabatini, a researcher on Latin America at the Chatham House Institute in London, explained to AFP that the goal of US policy will not change and will be to ensure a peaceful democratic transition and the management of the humanitarian crisis.

The change will consist in using the sanctions policy as “a flexible strategy” to promote “constructive and effective negotiation for Maduro’s departure” and “open up an opportunity for international collaboration,” Sabatini added.

Diego Area, associate director of the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank, also indicated that “Biden now has a historic opportunity to lead an international coalition to promote a political settlement in Venezuela.”

However, he explained to AFP that this will be a “challenge” and that to achieve it Biden “will have to maintain bipartisan support for the Venezuelan issue in Washington” after his arrival at the White House on January 20.

“Anchored to reality”

For analyst Michael Camilleri, “Biden’s policy towards Venezuela will be anchored in reality and not in mere illusions as seen during the Trump administration.”

Camilleri also explained that the democratic government’s vision will be more focused on the fact that there is a humanitarian emergency that “requires urgent measures”, in a country that is going through an acute economic crisis, which has forced millions of Venezuelans into exodus. .

And he stressed that the strategy of rhetoric and “vague threats of military action” during the Trump administration did not lead to a solution to the crisis in Venezuela.

For this expert on inter-American dialogue, what can be expected from the government led by former Vice President Barack Obama is that Maduro is held responsible for human rights violations and that there is greater attention to citizens, starting with giving him a Statute. Temporary protection (TPS) for Venezuelans in the United States, a promise from Biden’s campaign.

Moreover, Camilleri also believes that a diplomatic strategy oriented towards a political solution can be expected since the use of sanctions is a tool and not an end.

“It’s hard to be optimistic”

But for Benjamin Gedan, a Latin American program advisor at the Wilson Center in Washington, “it’s hard to be optimistic.” Maduro’s government “is more ruthless than it thought and although it is incompetent in economic management, it has been surprisingly adept at evading sanctions,” he added.

Additionally, Gedan noted that Maduro retains the support of key allies, including China, Russia, Turkey, Iran and Cuba.

Another factor mentioned by Gedan is that the exodus of millions of disillusioned Venezuelans reduces the chances of a “popular uprising”.

Although he also indicated that “Biden’s commitment to diplomacy and the strengths of his regional and international relations can create opportunities for a negotiated solution.”

For Area, one of the main changes will be the contrast in the “view of time”, in which a “new theory” of change will be articulated around the Biden government’s ability to mobilize the international community “, including several multilateral organizations such as the Organization of the American States, the Lima Group and with particular attention to the European Union.

“I think it’s doable, but it takes time.” “We will not see regime change or democratic transition in the short term,” Area concluded.


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