Challenges in US- Venezuela relations

Challenges in US- Venezuela relations - ảnh 1
(VOVworld)- Diplomatic tension has grown between the US and Venezuela since Venezuela demanded the US cut its embassy staff in Caracas 80% within 15 days. The demand has undermined the efforts made to improve bilateral ties since President Nicolas Maduro t
ook office in 2013.

Venezuela gave the US Embassy in Caracas 15 days to downsize its staff from 100 to 17 to match the number of personnel working in the Venezuelan embassy in the United States. Venezuela previously had imposed a compulsory visa mechanism for American citizens and tourists and refused to grant visas to a number of US officials, including former President George W Bush and two US Senators. Venezuela demanded that US diplomats ask for the Venezuelan government’s permission before meeting with Venezuela’s opposition political parties. The Venezuelan government says these measures are in retaliation for the US’s intervention into its internal affairs. The US government says Venezuela’s accusation is baseless.

Confrontation increases

Venezuela and the US have long been at odds. Their relationship has deteriorated since former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took power in 1999.Several times they have expelled each other’s diplomats. The US called Chavez a dictator and Venezuela accused the US of attempting to overthrow the Venezuelan government and sabotage the outcome of the Bolivar revolution. Venezuelan officials said that in addition to bribing and manipulating the opposition, Washington launched a communications campaign accusing Caracas of drug trafficking and violating human rights in order to justify foreign intervention. Since President Barack Obama took office, the two countries have made efforts to improve their relations but tension remains. On February 2, the US government passed a bill revoking visas and blocking assets of Venezuelan officials accused of violating human rights. The US Congress also passed the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act, which the Venezuelan government described as a campaign to smear Venezuelan leaders. In retaliation, Venezuela jailed 4 US citizens as suspected spies.

Tension continues

After President Hugo Chavez died, President Nicolas Maduro continued the Bolivar revolution. In recent years, Venezuela’s economy has faced problems due to sharp declines in oil prices, sparking protests and demonstrations throughout the country. 4 people were injured in the most recent protest in Merida city. Protests last month left 9 people dead and 140 injured. Tension between the US and Venezuela increased when Venezuela accused the US of funding these protests.

Negative impact on regional economy

Acts of retaliation between the US and Venezuela are likely to impact trade and investment activities in the region, especially in the oil sector. Venezuela is currently the US’s leading crude oil supplier at 1 million barrels per day. Worsening relations are threatening this trade. The tension will impact the entire region since the two have the biggest economies in the region.