News / Americas

Venezuela-US Relations Unlikely to Change After Chavez

Venezuela-US Relations Unlikely to Change After Chavezi
March 07, 2013 12:02 PM
The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is raising questions about what happens next in Venezuela, both internally and with its relations to other nations, including the United States. As VOA's Bill Rodgers reports, analysts do not expect the tense relationship between Washington and Caracas to change soon.
Bill Rodgers
The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is raising questions about what happens next in Venezuela, both internally and with its relations to other nations, including the United States.  Analysts do not expect the tense relationship between Washington and Caracas to change soon.

The death of President Chavez is being mourned by his supporters, while many inside and outside Venezuela wonder what the future holds.  

A commanding and charismatic figure in life, Chavez played an outsized role on the world stage - largely by challenging the United States and what he saw as Washington's economic and political dominance of Latin America.   

"He was a guy about power, you can’t really understand Chavez, the way he operated, what he did, what he couldn’t do, unless you understand his tremendous appetite for power," explained Michael Shifter, head of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington. "And that meant power within Venezuela, power within Latin America and that meant challenging and defying the superpower."

He repeatedly accused the United States of undermining his socialist revolution.  A failed coup attempt in 2002 tacitly supported by the Bush administration further antagonized the Venezuelan leader and his supporters.

This antagonism is unlikely to change soon.  

At a meeting convened the day Chavez died, Vice President Nicolas Maduro accused Washington of plotting to undermine Venezuela and announced the expulsion of two American diplomats.  

That does not bode well for future relations, says Carl Meacham of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"It is sort of sticking to the playbook that Chavismo has used in the past: always blame the United States or blame some foreign entity to distract them from problems that they have going on in Venezuela," he said.

Despite this, Venezuela is a major supplier of petroleum to the United States - and even provides free heating oil to poor Americans through a non-profit group.

American University professor Philip Brenner says this shows that relations between the two countries would be better if Washington recognizes certain realities.

"I think the important thing to remember about Venezuela is that they have never even threatened to cut off our oil.  Venezuela has done nothing to actually harm U.S. interests except to challenge U.S. dominance," Brenner noted.

Vice President Maduro, a former foreign minister and union leader, is expected to govern Venezuela for now and could be more pragmatic in his dealings with Washington, according to Michael Shifter.

"I think what we can expect from Maduro is a very tough stand, ideological stand, confrontational stand in public but behind the scenes I would imagine he would try to work things out, try to at least establish channels of communication at least, including with the United States," added Shifter.

Meanwhile, Maduro's accusations have been rejected by U.S. officials who have limited their comments to possible areas of cooperation such as counternarcotics and energy in the post-Chavez era.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: sk8sonh2o from: USA
March 07, 2013 10:49 AM
Chavez infuriated US oil companies by nationalizing the petroleum industry on behalf of the citizens of Venezuela. It is their oil - at least it is now!
Here in the USA, we give away oil and mineral leases for $5 an acre, without royalties; the leases are resold for much more, the resources plundered, and the environment poisoned. Is that fair to our citizens, our children, our stewardship of the land and its wealth?

by: John from: canada
March 07, 2013 9:37 AM
Its payback time for Venezuela having been one of very few states that recognized the Georgian break-away region of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2009, so besides naming Russian mountain peaks after Chavez and giving Venezuela multi-billion dollar loans to buy Russian tanks, SAMs and other weapons, Putinist Russia echoes the great friendship between Chavez and Putin by promoting the Yanqui-assassination theory on Russia Today’s media in Spanish.

by: jason from: canada
March 07, 2013 9:03 AM
Now the true problem begins. Chavez has had such close ties with Cuba that Cuba has infiltrated every part of Venezuela’s Government, including its Military. Cuba has no intention in giving up its survival even if it means a civil war in Venezuela. The aid received from Venezuela is in the order of about 100,000 barrels of petroleum per day. Cuba is giving in return for this bonanza of petroleum, doctors and “advisors” in the form of 30,000 Cubans – including disciplined mobile hit squads – roaming the streets and monitoring the movements of every Venezuelan military officer. Basically Chavez has committed Treason to his country, giving away its sovereignty to the Castro brothers.

Every leftist I read in the news says they loved Chavez and that better him than American interests. I say is it better to take hard earned money from the first world and have it funneled back to the Castro’s? (For those that don’t understand this statement, we buy oil from Venezuela and Cuba receives the money. Get it now?)The Venezuelan masses do not see the truth of what is happening; they are a happy people living day to day, to naive to see the inner working of the Cuban propaganda machine. Quite plainly, the Cuban regime traded Chavez’s life for its own survival – knowing that its bankrupt economy depends on Venezuelan generosity.

Unfortunately, the Cubans are not done administering to Venezuela – putting that country’s constitution under the knife while turning Chavez into a martyr for the poor. The Cubans have pulled of the greatest criminal operation of all time; they invaded a nation without firing a single shot. Hopefully the Venezuelan military will not put up with this outright treason and decide to take back Venezuela once and for all.
In Response

by: Jose M from: canada
March 07, 2013 10:11 AM
Jason, Thanks for sharing your opinion to the world. I respect your view, however you are showing just the bad side. I agree it is not right "to take hard earned money from the first world and have it funneled back to the Castro's " but I would add to your statement: the Castro and also some good projects! like this one: "At current prices, Venezuela sells oil to Haiti through PetroCaribe at 40% of the market price, with the remaining 60% paid over 25 years at an interest rate of 1%."

Do you think it is fair that over the past 100 years and more the "first world" have looted Latin America without mercy? Because all Latin Americans are too naive to see the truth, the first world does not care about poverty at all. Please, don't take me wrong, I would like to see the Castro being judged by all the people that suffered their tyranny (including me) but I do recognize the facts. In the 90's I was living through constants blackouts in Cuba, after Chavez we saw the LIGHT again! That is reality! He did bad things but also good ones for those one that were always in forgetfulness.

Poor people do not care who get richer as long as they don't get poorest. Get it now? Then it will come the time when those one that were the poorest at one time will raise up and ask for more, like it is happening in Cuba now, but one step at a time ;) One last comment, Venezuela has to get rid of all the Cubans infiltrated in the government and gain their sovereignty back, but please not to sell their sovereignty back again to the US. It is insane that Venezuela is not one of the "first world" countries with all those natural resources they have.

Have a good day.

Power to the people!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Drug Lord Mask Topping Halloween Sales

Mexican authorities continue search for escaped Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzmán, but manhunt for Sinaloa cartel leader could be tough - many plan to dress like fugitive

Panama Condo Owners to Trump: You're Fired!

Directors of luxury condominium development say mismanagement, overspending and undisclosed bonuses executives paid themselves prompted decision

Rescued Chilean Miners Were 'Battle-Scarred,' Author Says

Despite becoming celebrities after their improbable rescue in 2010, the men were deeply wounded, said writer Hector Tobar

Celebration of Peru's Economic Boom Comes Late

World Bank, IMF policymakers this week call country a prize pupil of financial stability, however, plunging prices for minerals have cut annual growth dramatically

Guatemala Landslide Death Toll Tops 220; Another 350 Missing

Loosened by heavy rains, hillside collapsed onto Santa Catarina Pinula on southeastern flank of Guatemala City October 1, burying scores of homes

Report: More Than 58,000 Violent Deaths Last Year in Brazil

Annual report on public security says number of violent deaths up nearly 5 percent last year from 2013, when country suffered a then high of 55,000 such deaths