Spanish – The upcoming American political scenario will undoubtedly influence the rest of the world. Whoever is elected President of the United States will have the power to contribute or not to initiatives that impact many other nations.
In the case of Venezuela, the administration of Donald Trump has implemented important measures to oust the regime.
However, an eventual government of Joe Biden would not only result in the relaxation of such measures but would make interim President Juan Guaidó the target within Maduro’s reach. Guaidó would eventually be vulnerable since Maduro could even imprison the interim and avoid facing any major consequences.
In a conversation with the PanAm Post, the internationalist and specialist in conflict management, Giovanna Quina analyzes and explains the consequences that Venezuela would suffer from Joe Biden in the White House.
Easing of sanctions
In 2017, the Trump government imposed a series of measures against the Venezuelan dictatorship to ensure that Maduro and his associates no longer benefit from the profits from oil exports, illegal mining, and other businesses that line the regime’s pockets.
With Joe Biden in the White House, the scenario would be different. Giovanna Quina makes clear that there will be a significant change, not only concerning Venezuela but also to Cuba.
She also warns that some countries would see a brilliant opportunity if a Biden administration makes some of the measures more flexible. “I would not be surprised to see countries like Iran, China, Russia, among others, doing lavish business with Venezuela without any qualms about being sanctioned by the United States,” she said.
As for the future of the interim president, the specialist warns of a more somber scenario:
“I think that perhaps the recognition of Guaidó is no longer such… Guaidó could even go to jail because Maduro’s regime has slowed down or has limited itself to taking one more step out of fear, or because it is cautious, regarding all the sanctions that Trump has imposed on Venezuela.”
Protection for Guaidó in jeopardy
The interim president has challenged the regime on several occasions. In fact, on a couple of occasions, he has left Venezuelan territory despite the prohibition imposed by the dictatorship for alleged criminal and administrative investigations.
The first time was in February 2019, when he visited several countries in the region in an attempt to bring in donations to Venezuela. And the second, in January 2020, when he traveled to Colombia to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to La Tercera.
Guaidó faced no consequences following these events. Guaidó returned to the country, and months later said Venezuela would have U.S. support no matter who was in the White House.
Quina adds an important factor to the equation: the fraudulent 6D elections for a new National Assembly.
“There may be a scenario that will converge between Biden in the United States and a National Assembly that also does not recognize Guaidó. The political floor that Guaidó has right now can be broken, and a domino effect can come later.”
The specialist believes that Biden’s team would not ignore the interim government in the first months but warns that it would probably do so in the medium term.
An article published by The New York Times is in line with her arguments. It explains that a Democratic White House would use persuasion rather than imposition, a strategy that has proven ineffective against the authoritarian governments with which the United States has dealt.
Potential Changes without Trump
In contrast, the ties with the president of the United States became a container wall so that Guaidó continues to be recognized by the power of the North and other countries of the world. But as Quina emphasizes, “that scenario has a good chance of changing.”
The specialist describes the situation that South America is now going through: the government of Argentina, the recently elected government of Bolivia, the upcoming elections in Colombia, and the constitutional reform pushed in Chile by the left.
“There is a breeding ground bubbling around Guaidó and Venezuela that can be affected in the short term, by Venezuela, and in the medium term, by the Biden administration if he becomes president.”
She adds that hopefully “we will not have to see Guaidó in jail or in exile like all the Venezuelan politicians who have managed to stand up in Venezuela.”
South America will not be a priority
The destruction of Venezuela dates back to more than a decade ago when thanks to oil revenues, the Chavista regime began the multi-million dollar robbery of the country.
The sanctions imposed by Trump halted these illicit businesses. According to the specialist, these measures have been the only forceful action taken by an external government concerning Venezuela.
According to Quina, with an eventual Joe Biden administration, South America would no longer be a priority for the United States. “It wasn’t for Obama, and it won’t be for Biden either,” she stresses.
In this sense, one of Maduro’s actions to evade sanctions has been to turn to Iran for gas.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Biden isn’t as upfront as Trump has been. He might be a lot more subtle. He could turn a blind eye and look the other way by allowing Venezuela to do business with Iran and justifying himself to the Venezuelan people.
The specialist predicts that Biden is likely to mislead the issue, making the Maduro regime not feel the same pressure in comparison to Donald Trump’s administration.
The Republican Scenario
The interviewee highlights the contrast that Joe Biden’s presidency would have with that of the current president. She emphasizes that with a re-election of the Republican, ties with the interim government would be strengthened, and sanctions against the dictatorship would be intensified.
“We will see that all these sanctions will be strengthened. Perhaps we will be able to see more sanctions regarding the financial part, money laundering, and on Venezuela’s business with countries that seek oil.”
On this matter, in August, the U.S. government was already analyzing the possibility of applying more sanctions to avoid fuel transactions with Maduro, reported Bloomberg. The portal pointed out: “The measures could point to oil exchanges with companies from Asia and Europe, said the people, who requested anonymity because the conversations are private.”
Quina believes that South America would continue to be a priority for a Republican government. As for the “high points” that this administration has had to deal with, she asserts: “Trump has done it with much more integrity than any Democratic government.”