What will Biden's relationship with Venezuela and Maduro be like?

Recent relations between the United States and Venezuela have been conflictive. Could the inauguration of Biden change this?.

Joe Biden and Nicolas Maduro

With the arrival of Biden to the presidency of the United States, changes in foreign policy are expected, especially with Venezuela. / Photos: TW-Joe Biden, Reuters

Latin American Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: ¿Cómo será la relación de Biden con Venezuela y Maduro?

The triumph in the presidential elections of Joe Biden implies political changes on a domestic scale, but it could also mean changes in the face of foreign policy. One of the main axes of the historical conflict occurred with Venezuela. More precisely, with the Venezuela of Nicolás Maduro.

The current Republican president, Donald Trump, had assured that, if re-elected, he would maintain his policy against the “dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela”, with the intention of supporting norms that impose sanctions on communist regimes. In other words, he clearly positioned himself against the Maduro regime.

Knowing that the baton will change hands, as it will pass to the Democratic Party led by Joe Biden, there are some positions or points of view that could be maintained or modified with respect to its relationship with Venezuela. Against this background, we decided to analyze what could happen between the United States and Venezuela when Biden takes office.

Joe Biden and Nicolás Maduro: what will the relationship be?

Joe Biden's victory in the US presidential election created hope for many people seeking change. However, in some issues, a political turn may not occur, as is the case with the existing relationship with Venezuela led by Nicolás Maduro.

In particular, Joe Biden seems to share an idea with Donald Trump: that Maduro should be replaced in the Miraflores Palace after the 2018 elections were considered "fraudulent." Previously, the Democrat, who will occupy the White House, had considered that the Venezuelan elections had been a scam, defining Maduro as a true "dictator." In other words, the same discursive tune that the Trump-Pence government duo had.

However, that does not mean that the relationship between the two nations cannot prosper. A first indication was given in that Nicolás Maduro himself congratulated the triumph of the Biden-Harris duo in the US elections. Despite historically maintaining a speech that he considers "anti-imperialist", Maduro clarified that Venezuela "will always be open to dialogue with that country."

Precisely, the internal policy of Venezuela analyzes the results of the United States to assess what their next move should be. The leader of the Venezuelan opposition, Juan Guaidó, hopes for the help of the US government to remove Maduro from his position and that he can take power in Venezuela. However, so far that has not happened, because the intervention was minimal ... something that could change with Biden, who historically asked for the help of the United States in the Venezuelan territory.

Also read: Venezuela: What's Next for the Opposition?

Given the economic problems that Venezuelans have been experiencing for some time, the idea that the United States can change command would imply benefits for opponents of the Maduro government. Mainly, one could foresee a greater intervention by Biden, although that does not mean that it does not currently exist. On the contrary: the Trump administration had generated different sanctions on Venezuela, as happened with the seizures of cargo ships that transported Iranian crude to Chavista territory.

Another warning, generated by Trump's National Security adviser, John Bolton, was to foreign companies themselves. In that sense, he had mentioned that he would sanction those who have ties to Venezuela, with the aim of blocking assets on the territory of Nicolás Maduro. In other words, it caused a kind of commercial blockade against operations in Venezuelan territory.

In the past, Democrats have also lashed out at Venezuela. At the time, both Obama and Biden himself had declared this place a "threat to national security." In this sense, he had also issued a decree for the politicians in charge of "breaking human rights" in that country, suspending their visas and freezing their bank accounts in the United States.

Therefore, the electoral process of the United States was lived in Venezuela as its own. This indicates that the climate of the North American country always affected the one commanded by Nicolás Maduro, but especially in this critical context of its economy. Therefore, the inauguration of Biden could imply that, little by little, Maduro loses power at the state level.

In conclusion, both Biden and Trump consider that Nicolás Maduro is not a “democratically elected” president , which implies that, from both perspectives, there is a dictatorship in Venezuelan territory. Given this situation, it remains to be seen if Biden generates a greater intervention that promulgates structural political changes against Nicolás Maduro, which could positively affect Juan Guaidó.