03 November 2020 14:36

Either a Trump or a Biden administration would face continuing challenges on Venezuela policy.

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This rhetoric is likely to play well with Venezuelan, Cuban, and Colombian immigrants who are wary of socialism, particularly in Florida, a state Trump sees as key to any Electoral College victory. But still, should he win reelection, regional analysts are unsure of what a second-term set of Venezuela policies would look like. "President Trump's policy towards Venezuela can only be understood through the prism of Florida politics and his reelection strategy," Michael Shifter, the president of the Inter-American Dialogue, said. If Trump manages to win reelection, Shifter suggests his stance could quickly shift, perhaps even mimicking his solicitous policy toward North Korea's Kim Jong Un. In June of this year, Trump said he would be open to meeting with Maduro, before walking the comments back. But faced with the need to revive the U.S. economy and support the profitable forays of U.S. companies weakened by COVID-19, he is likely to take an easier approach against Venezuela," Gallegos said, predicting that in the event of a Trump victory, many companies will double down on their lobbying for sanctions relief.

"This also means the Trump administration will likely cease protecting Citgo assets from the seizure of creditors if and when he gets reelected," the analyst said, in reference to Venezuela's U.S. refining subsidiary. In an 2019 statement in response to questions from the Council on Foreign Relations, while he was still campaigning for the nomination, Biden said that "the overriding goal in Venezuela must be to hold free and fair elections so that the Venezuelan people may recover their democracy and rebuild their country." Biden said that the United States should push for stronger multilateral sanctions—rather than the unilateral ones announced by the incumbent—and should grant Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans who have fled their home country. Biden would continue to coordinate, as the Trump administration has, with the Lima Group—the intergovernmental organization of 14 countries in the Americas working to resolve the crisis in Venezuela. But on regional cooperation, he may face new difficulties from countries including Colombia and Brazil, and continued difficulty with Mexico and Argentina. He may butt heads with leaders from Colombia and Brazil, where ruling politicians are supportive of Trump and issues including corruption and the environment may lead to conflict with a Biden administration. "I actually think Maduro would prefer Trump, who is easy to demonize, and a lightning rod for other maligned forces," Ray Walser, a historian and former foreign service officer, said, adding that the Guaidó-led opposition too may enjoy a new tack from Washington. Either a Trump or a Biden administration would face continuing challenges on Venezuela policy.

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