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

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha 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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Rescuers Hunt for Hundreds Missing in Guatemalan Landslide

Death toll from Thursday night disaster east of capital is at 33 but is expected to rise

Life Ring From Storm-Tossed Ship Spotted

Ring seen 120 miles northeast of Crooked Island, 70 miles northeast of El Faro's last known position before it lost contact amid fury of Hurricane Joaquin

At Least 9 Dead, Hundreds Missing in Guatemala Mudslide

Heavy rains swept torrent of boulders, mud over dozens of homes Thursday night in Santa Catarina Pinula, one of worst slides to hit poor country in recent memory

Argentina Celebrates Second Satellite Launch, Technology Milestone

Following country's technology milestone President Cristina Fernandez says she wants the nation to manufacture eight more over the next 20 years

Hurricane Joaquin Batters Bahama Region, Likely to Stay at Sea

Five US coastal states have declared emergencies and announced measures in preparation for storm, should it hit America’s shoreline

Hurricane Joaquin Strengthens to Category 4

Storm is causing heavy rains, minor flooding and significant storm surge as it approaches lightly populated central and eastern islands