With Venezuela in line for a new leader, the United States is looking to improve ties with a minimum of disruption. President Hugo Chavez has been the most outspoken anti-US leader in Latin America. Washington hopes calmer voices will prevail in Caracas. Experts in the US capital tells us what may be in store.
Michael Shifter, President of the Inter-American Dialogue, said: “This is a very polarised country and there is a lot of mistrust, a lot of rancour, and if Chavez dies, there just could be a lot of struggling and jockeying for power on all sides and there may not be a lot of order. In that case, the armed forces probably have to play a very important role.”
Promoting political stability in the fourth-largest supplier of US oil imports is high on Washington’s agenda.
Improving a pragmatic relationship would ideally mean stronger counter-narcotics coordination and energy cooperation, but also more pluralism in Venezuela.
Eric Olson, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said: “There is engagement and intense interest in what goes on there and overall a desire to remain engaged and to see that Venezuela’s democratic transition be preserved and built upon.”
Underlying this remark is the nature of leadership in Venezuela; Chavez taught the people to resent the US, even while he did major business with it.
Shifter said: “The oil is still flowing from Venezuela to the United States. Venezuela needs it to sustain its economy. Under Chavez the Venezuelan economy has been very dependent on oil, as it was before, and the United States is the main consumer, the main market, even though they have tried to diversify. It is just that everything is set up to favour the United States.”
Chavez championed a Latin America free of US influence and built alliances with US enemies. Yet neither of these sides to the extrovert leader benefited Venezuela’s economic efficiency – and they made it difficult for US administrations to talk to Caracas.
Olson said: “[There was] a lot of harsh rhetoric from Chavez against the United States, and the US has been critical of some aspects of the Chavez government, obviously. So it has been somewhat cold, but underneath that is always a desire on the part of the United States to have communication with Venezuela, to establish normal sort of relations.”
The US and Venezuela were close allies before Chavez led his country. There may be an opportunity to redevelop better relations now.
Our correspondent in Washington, Stefan Grobe, said: “The Obama administration is already planning for the post-Chavez era, although the State Department has been very careful not to show it. On top of the wish list is an exchange of ambassadors. That would give the embassy behind me a real meaning.”
The countries do not have ambassadors accredited to one another.
- 1We will not be moved! Resistance to China’s urban spread [PHOTOS]
- 2British probe into child sex abuse reveals 1400 suspects
- 3Netanyahu supports call for a two-state solution with Palestinians
- 4ISIL controls more than half of Syria after seizing Palmyra
- 5EU refusal to accept migrant quotas ‘unacceptable’
- 1Snowden, Assange and Manning statues unveiled in Berlin | euronews, world news
- 2Chomsky says US is world’s biggest terrorist | euronews, the global conversation
- 3euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 4Anti-ISIL demonstrations turn violent in Ethiopia | euronews, no comment
- 5Nepal: ‘equally big earthquakes coming in eastern regions,’ expert tells euronews | euronews, world news
- 6It’s a girl: Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge gives birth in London | euronews, world news
- 7How Nepal earthquake devastated Kathmandu’s UNESCO heritage | euronews, world news
- 8Chernobyl Children: what makes Ukrainians born in 1986 different? | euronews, world news
- 9International breaking news | euronews online world breaking news in video
- 10Exclusive: unrest in FYR Macedonia could hit other Balkan countries warns Serbian PM | euronews, world news
- 11International tv news | euronews: European and International tv news bulletin
- 12Andrea Ferrari: the graphene guru | euronews, science
- 13Portuguese language reform law goes global | euronews, world news
- 14Watch: France’s Jean-Marie Le Pen clashes with UKIP MEP Woolfe | euronews, world news
- 15How young translators are helping knit European culture together | euronews, generation y
- 16EU membership remains Serbia’s priority, says PM Aleksandar Vucic | euronews, the global conversation
- 17Spain: the viral soldiers fighting in Madrid and Barcelona mayoral races | euronews, world news
- 18eurovibes - a selection of Europe’s best music talent
- 19Portuguese researchers discover the secret of Mind Control | euronews, futuris
- 20Energy-generating clothes and smart lights join the Internet of Things | euronews, hi-tech
Wires > News
- 16:15 CET Global refugee crises will hinder resettlement of Asian ‘boat…
- 16:04 CET Irish vote on gay marriage in landmark referendum
- 16:03 CET Turkish ruling party may lose majority in June election – poll
- 15:55 CET U.N. office outraged by ‘biased’ Hungarian survey on migration
- 15:48 CET British bomber jailed for life for murder of U.S. sergeant in Iraq
- 15:46 CET In Spain, grassroots movements revive interest in politics
- 15:44 CET Large French supermarkets face ban on throwing away food
- 15:31 CET Suicide bomber strikes Saudi Shi’ite mosque, many dead or wounded