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.
Copyright © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Now is ‘right time’ for Catalonia independence vote, says Mas | euronews, world news
- 3Vatican rocked by another paedophilia scandal | euronews, world news
- 4Two container ships collide on Egypt’s Suez Canal | euronews, no comment
- 5British Muslims’ message to ISIL: Not in my name! | euronews, world news
- 6Revealed: Europe’s capital cities where it’s hardest to be a foreigner | euronews, world news
- 7Sweden becomes first European nation to recognise Palestine | euronews, world news
- 8European Union News | euronews: latest breaking news and headlines about European Union
- 9How nasheeds became the soundtrack of jihad | euronews, world news
- 10International tv news | euronews: European and International tv news bulletin
- 11Iceland volcano ‘pollutes Paris’ | euronews, world news
- 12Ebola: Six new suspected cases in Spain | euronews, world news
- 13Learning through “serious games” | euronews, learning world
- 14All you need to know about the Ebola virus | euronews, world news
- 15International breaking news | euronews online world breaking news in video
- 16US says ISIL makes $1 million-a-day selling oil – even to enemies | euronews, world news
- 17US delivers technical aid to Ukraine but warns over security | euronews, world news
- 18euronews apps : iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, Nokia S40, Nokia Asha, Smart TV and Google Glass
- 19Global warming to ‘cause 250,000 extra deaths a year’ | euronews, world news
- 20Mike Tyson: ‘You learn humbleness when you get older in life’ | euronews, the global conversation
Wires > News
- 20:31 CET Iran re-arrests leading human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh
- 20:22 CET Lebanon army fights gunmen in Tripoli, three soldiers killed
- 20:15 CET Police seek motive in fatal Washington state school shooting
- 19:48 CET Brazil’s election too close to call on eve of runoff
- 19:09 CET U.S. recognises gay marriages in six more states
- 18:25 CET Blast injures three U.N. peacekeepers in northern Mali
- 17:22 CET On eve of poll, Ukraine leader seeks support for pro-Europe course
- 17:16 CET Canada’s Parliament Hill reopens following Wednesday shooting