The new President’s words and actions are making it clear that he is no fan of socialism.
President Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, stated the day before Biden’s inauguration, that the new administration will continue to recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the Venezuelan president- keeping in place a policy started by the Trump Administration. Guaido has been attempting to run a parallel government alongside that of President Maduro. After the 2018 election in Venezuela, the United States and some of its allies recognized Guaido as the President of Venezuela citing “election irregularities” and a “rigged” election.
Maduro has continued to rule over Venezuela despite crippling economic sanctions, confiscation of Venezuelan assets abroad, aggressive U.S. military posturing, and a failed coup attempt that has left Venezuela reeling. Inflation is rampant, there are food shortages, poverty has increased and millions have fled the country. President Maduro himself has contributed to Venezuela’s plight from a host of factors ranging from not diversifying the economy to corruption. However, most observers studying Venezuela’s situation today will claim that lower oil prices and economic sanctions are the main drivers for Venezuela’s difficulties.
An important question that needs to be asked is: are the circumstances surrounding the election of the Maduro government any more or less fraudulent or the policies pursued by the Venezuelan government any less corrupt and inept than the vast majority of America’s allies? To fairly apply such a foreign policy principle would then require the U.S. government to make the economies of Saudi Arabia, Columbia, Israel, or the Philippines scream through the use of oppressive sanctions. But those countries will not be sanctioned because their leaders have agreed to allow the boot of American imperialism to step on their throats. But fair application of foreign policy is not the goal. Just two years ago, there were accusations of voter fraud from both sides in the 2019 Bolivian election but the Trump Administration was quick to recognize the results because a socialist government was removed and replaced by a party friendly to American corporate interests.
Many had hoped that the new Biden administration would end the oppressive Trump policies and work to restoring a more humane policy towards Venezuela. Blinken’s comments suggest those hopes will be unrealized. There will be no new “Good Neighbor” policy instituted by the Biden Administration. We will only see the continuation of the bipartisan policy of crushing countries that try to resist the dictates of the American Empire- as is the case in Venezuela.
What should not go unnoticed to political observers is how the Biden Administration is demonstrating a complete lack of awareness to the irony of their position. Both Biden and Maduro were elected amidst allegations of an unfair election and internal groups refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the results. Newly elected President Biden is entering his presidency facing a huge resistance to the legitimacy of his being elected president. A recent CNN poll, conducted by SSRS between January 9 and 14, shows that 75 percent of Republicans do not think that Biden won the election legitimately, compared to 1 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of independents. The January 6th event which occurred at the nation’s Capitol has been alternately described as a coup, an insurrection and a riot. The same terms have been used to describe the events to which have led to Guaido being recognized as the legitimate ruler of Venezuela instead of Maduro. How can the Biden Administration continue pursuing a policy for which the world both laughs at its irony and scorns our inhumanity?
President Maduro has struggled against many forces to remain in power and to try to lead his nation out of its economic difficulties. It is clear that the Biden Administration will not make that effort any easier. The suffering of the Venezuelan people will continue until there is sufficient political pressure both from within the United States and internationally to force the Biden Administration to recognize Maduro as the legitimate leader of Venezuela and to end the devastating sanctions.
Citizens of both the United States and Venezuela will need to recognize that the new occupant of the White House is no friend to socialism. Before the election Biden said in local news interview in Wisconsin: “I beat the socialist… Do I look like a socialist? Look at my career — my whole career. I am not a socialist.” If one looks at Biden’s long, political record this statement is hard to refute. Whether it is pushing for a domestic policy such as Medicare For All, or for a change in foreign relations with a country like Venezuela, Biden is making it clear he will distance himself with anything that contains even a whiff of socialism.