Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, spoke with The Washington Times about US-Venezuelan relations under the Biden administration. The conversation covered Nicolas Maduro’s hopes to win concessions from Washington now that Democrats control the White House, Biden’s potential approach towards Juan Guaidó, and internal divisions in Venezuela.
COMMENTS FROM MICHAEL SHIFTER:
“Maduro was very aware that the steps he’s been taking, particularly with the electoral council, would create divisions in the opposition.”
“He’s also aware these steps will advance his agenda by driving a wedge between the already fractured opposition and Washington.”
“That’s what Maduro has been very good at for many years and Chavez was very good at before that. They’re not good at governing, but they are good at creating divisions within the opposition and between the opposition and Washington, and that’s what keeps them in power.”
“The question facing the White House is whether the Biden administration is prepared to distance itself from Guaidó at this point in favor of backing other opposition players in Caracas who are now negotiating with Mr. Maduro.”
“The Biden administration’s approach is likely to align with that of Mr. Menendez because, as Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, he is an important player who’s going to be essential to President Biden on other foreign policy fronts, such as China or Iran or North Korea.”
“Biden’s not going to want to get Menendez upset on Venezuela, I also don’t think we’ll see Biden doing anything on Cuba.”