News Release

Biden’s Venezuela Policy: “Continuity Disguised as Change”


On Monday, the Biden administration gave temporary legal status to thousands of Venezuelans in the U.S.

Ellner, a retired professor from Venezuela’s Universidad de Oriente, is currently an associate managing editor of Latin American Perspectives and editor of the recently published Latin American Extractivism: Dependency, Resource Nationalism and Resistance in Broad Perspective.

He said today: “The Biden administration’s posture toward Venezuela is continuity disguised as change. Its statement that it is dropping Trump’s approach to Venezuela is based on the claim that it will be consulting governments in the region and Europe. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Biden is calling for regime change, just as Trump did, and he continues to recognize Juan Guaidó as president. In contrast, the European Union has terminated its recognition of Guaidó. And the winds of change in Latin America are upending the strategy of isolating the Maduro government in the region that Trump did so much to promote.

“The Biden administration has learned nothing from the disaster of Trump’s Venezuelan policy. It has been a disaster for the Venezuelan people because the sanctions have caused them untold suffering. Ninety five percent of the deterioration in living standards in Venezuela occurred during Trump’s four years. That, in itself, puts the lie to Secretary of State spokesman Ned Price’s assertion on Monday that Maduro is ‘at the root of much of the misery and the suffering of the people of Venezuela.'” See Ellner’s piece “Explanations for the Current Crisis in Venezuela: A Clash of Paradigms and Narratives.”
He added: “The U.S. has always wanted to teach Venezuela a lesson (just like Cuba), specifically because Chavez, more than any other progressive Latin American president, served as a spokesman for the entire region, if not the world. And second, Washington policy makers are now using the term ‘leverage’ which means the sanctions are not designed to bring about immediate regime change but rather improve the U.S. bargaining position.”