With the recent US presidential election bringing in Democrat government in the White House, led by Joe Biden, Venezuelan opposition became more hopeful of pushing peaceful democratic reforms in the country. The South American country under the reign of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has drifted away from democratic political system towards soft dictatorship. Rebuilding ties with Venezuela, minus the military intervention and sanctions as proposed by former US President Donald Trump, would be one of the biggest foreign policy challenge for Biden administration.
With Maduro’s re-appointment as the country’s president in December 2020, which many claimed as undemocratic, the fate of Venezuelan opposition leaders became more shaky. Leopoldo Lopez, the Venezuelan opposition who flew to Spain in 2020, stayed committed to fight for bringing back reforms in his country. He believed that Europe would make a perfect ally in US’s mission of bringing democracy back in Venezuela, especially Spain given its historical ties with the South American country. Madrid’s the left-wing government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, which has even provided refuge to many of Venezuelan opposition leaders, has expressed keenness of working with new US administration to restore order in the Latin American nation.
During his recent interview, Lopez said, “In the past year, relations between the U.S. and Europe became more distanced with respect to many issues and one of the issues was Venezuela.”
He emphasised, “Now there is a great opportunity to have a clear and more coordinated position between the US and Europe. We propose there should be a common focus to attain free and democratic parliamentary elections. The start of the solution of the humanitarian problem starts with the change in the political situation.”
López added, “We ask that sanctions are coordinated between U.S. and Europe against those people who have been identified by the United Nations as committing human rights abuses.”
With regard to Biden administration’s approach towards the political crisis in Venezuela, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the new administration “will focus on addressing the humanitarian situation, providing support to Venezuelan people and reinvigorating multilateral diplomacy to press for a democratic outcome and pursue individuals involved in corruption, human rights abuses.”
Post Venezuela’s presidential election, many countries including the US, Panama, Canada, and Germany refused to acknowledge Maduro as the country’s head. In a statement, European Union foreign ministers said that the vote “failed to comply with the minimum international standards for a credible process and to mobilize the Venezuelan people to participate.”
The European Council admitted that the country mired with severe political and economic crisis was in urgent need to humanitarian assistance, especially after the International Monetary Fund predicted a huge inflation rise of about 6,500% in the country this year.