Understanding the Recent Shift in US-Venezuela Relations: Exploring the Reasons Behind the Policy Change

2023-10-29 14:58:08

The recent agreements reached between the United States and Venezuela have raised questions about the reasons that made them possible. What has led Washington to make such a strong shift in its policy and agree to a considerable relaxation of sanctions, especially in the oil sector?

The answers to this question have been multiple and different observers of international politics have tried to explain the reasons for this change from various perspectives. The official version, supported by news agencies, maintains that the reduction in sanctions is due to a political agreement between the opposition and the Venezuelan government with the aim of “guaranteeing political conditions for the 2024 presidential elections.”

While this element may have its place in explanations, the way it is presented actually acts as a justification to mitigate criticism of Biden’s decisions by the most radical sectors of American politics, which oppose to any understanding.


Within the analyzes carried out on the change in US policy, we can identify the following explanations, which are articulated in a complementary way: the need to stabilize energy markets, the purpose of reducing migratory pressure, the interest in strengthening weakened internal forces by the politics of the Trump period and the aspiration to create conditions for a change of government.

Of all these elements, the one that has stood out is the need to ensure the supply of oil and gas for the international market, a need that arose as a result of the war in Ukraine and that has intensified due to the escalation of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. For some analysts, this need has forged a kind of coalition of pragmatic interests, in which both the White House and the oil corporations agree.


In early September, the Finacial Times noted: “A renewed effort by Saudi Arabia and Russia to push the price of oil toward $100 a barrel threatens to become another problem for President Joe Biden.”

In those same days, the FT published a report titled “Biden’s Mexican border nightmare,” which highlighted the negative impact of the immigration problem on Biden’s image. According to the report, “voters trust Donald Trump more than Joe Biden on immigration by about two to one, and that issue is on par with the economy as a top voter concern.”

On September 11, the same FT announced an agreement between Venezuela and the United States with the following headline: “Venezuelan bonds rise as investors bet on détente with Washington.”

Furthermore, the article stated: “Biden wants to reach a deal to solve two problems of his re-election: migration and Russian-Saudi attempts to restrict the oil market.”

As a result of this, Washington requested an agreement for the deportation of Venezuelans, while sanctions relief is expected to improve conditions in Venezuela, which could reduce migratory pressure.


When we try to explain Washington’s turn, we cannot limit ourselves to considering only oil interests and immigration problems. It is necessary to understand that the geopolitical pulse between the United States and Venezuela has not come to an end. The White House has designed a new strategy to replace Trump’s policy, which has been dubbed by the Washington Post as a “cajoling strategy.”

This strategy includes as an initial element the reincorporation of internal opposition forces into the electoral dynamics, so that they connect with society after the defeat of the 2019 insurrectional scheme. Washington’s recent opening has made it easier for these actors to receive a kind of amnesty policy on the part of the Government, a commitment that was formalized in Barbados.

This political chess creates a favorable scenario for new dynamics in which the United States will seek to achieve its strategic objective: reincorporate Venezuela into its geopolitical device. Everything will depend on the future steps in the “cajoling” strategy, a name that somehow reminds us of the famous cartoon series “Tom and Jerry.”

#Washington #relax #sanctions #Venezuela

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