Christopher Mott makes the case for restoring normal relations with Venezuela:
With attachment to Guaido fading, Washington should now disavow interference in Caracas’s internal affairs and offer sanctions relief as an easy price to pay for setting up a full and robust exchange of commerce, oil, and gas between Venezuela and the United States.
Unfortunately, the Biden administration’s attachment to Guaidó remains weirdly strong. The president’s wife posted a photo with Guaidó’s wife this week and refers to her as the First Lady of Venezuela. This is just the latest sign that U.S. Venezuela policy remains on Trump-era autopilot. I suppose it is fitting that our farcical fantasy Venezuela policy should remain tied to the fantasy that Guaidó is president, since they both lack any connection to the real world.
This week on our podcast, my colleague Kelley Vlahos and I spoke with William Neuman, the author of the new book Things Are Never So Bad That They Can’t Get Worse, which covers the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. In our interview, he talks about the political reasons why Biden and the Democrats don’t want to rock the boat on Venezuela policy. He writes about the effects of the 2020 election in the book:
Democrats were stunned by their shellacking in Florida. Besides losing the presidential vote in the state, two incumbent (and moderate) Democratic congresswomen lost their seats in majority Hispanic Miami-Dade County, where Republicans has aggressively pressed their “all Democrats are socialists” campaign (there were other factors, as well, including a better Republican get-out-the-vote effort). This meant any administration move toward Venezuela that could be portrayed as an overture toward Maduro or a softening of support for Guaidó could cost the Democrats votes in the midterm election and beyond.
“They see it as a third rail,” said a person who discussed Venezuela policy with an administration official. “They know nothing good is going to come of this.”
Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.