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Posts tagged US foreign policy

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Wilson Center Calls for Careful US Diplomacy in Venezuela

David Smilde

The Latin America Program of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars has released a policy brief on priorities for US diplomacy in Latin America written by the programs director, Cynthia Arnson. 

Arnson calls on the US to “work creatively and honestly to address issues of importance to the region as well as to the United States, and to abandon the notion that we can ‘get our way’ through imposition rather than the same kind of creative diplomacy exercised toward traditional allies in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere.”

She argues that potential instability in Venezuela is the most important challenge right now and provides some wise advice. She suggests the US avoid partisanship which would inevitably backfire, as it has in the past. She supports efforts to reestablish diplomatic relations with the Venezuelan government, and suggest the US work closely with allies in the region, all of whom share an interest in avoiding violence if there is a crisis.

Filed under Venezuela US foreign policy Woodrow Wilson Center

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Obama’s Second Term Provides an Opportunity to Reset Relations with Venezuela

David Smilde

With the voting in both the United States and Venezuela resulting in the reelection of their presidents, the time is ripe for rethinking relations between the countries. 

On October 7 Hugo Chávez won reelection by more than ten points in smooth-running Election Day with a turnout exceeding 80%. Of course the electoral campaign itself had serious shortcomings with electoral authorities either unwilling or unable to control the Chávez government’s abuse of public institutions—for example its partisan abuse of state media and cadenas (obligatory coverage of government communications on all broadcast outlets). However, the opposition had ample resources of its own. Independent studies showed that Capriles clearly got his message out, exceeding Chávez in media coverage and campaign events. The election result was recognized by the Venezuelan opposition and by the international community.

And on November 6, Barrack Obama was elected to a second term as president. A second term is a time in which U.S. presidents can be bolder in their foreign policy as they think about their legacy rather than reelection. Of course the demands on a recently re-elected president are many, as multiple issue-specific publics demand attention. But there is a good case to be made that reconstructing Latin America policy merits priority. 

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Filed under Venezuela US foreign policy