World #3 – Venezuela’s socialist dictator wants to restart dialogue with U.S. under Biden

Joe Biden and Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro

(by Reuters staff) CARACAS — Venezuela’s socialist president Nicolas Maduro said his government would work to establish dialogue with the United States under President-elect Joe Biden, after relations deteriorated under President Donald Trump [due to Maduro’s oppresion of his own citizens].

“I hope we can work to restart sincere and direct channels of decent dialogue between the future government of Joe Biden and the government over which I preside,” Maduro said in a state television address on Sunday, a day after the former U.S. Vice President [was declared the winner by the Associated Press and other media outlets].

Trump, a Republican, has used economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure to pressure the socialist Venezuelan leader to resign, accusing him of corruption, human rights violations, and rigging his 2018 re-election win.

Washington closed its Caracas embassy last year; Maduro cut off ties with the U.S. after the Trump administration recognized Juan Guaido, the speaker of the opposition-held National Assembly, as Venezuela’s rightful leader. Sixty other countries have also recognized Guaido, and the United States has also imposed sanctions on the OPEC nation’s oil industry.

(Despite the pressure, Maduro remains in power, backed by the Venezuelan military as well as key allies that also have authoritarian leaders/dictators: Cuba, Russia, China, Turkey and Iran.)

Biden advisers have said he would push for humanitarian relief in Venezuela and modify the sanctions framework, without dismantling it entirely.

The sanctions have proven popular among opposition supporters in Venezuela, as well as many voters of Venezuelan and Cuban descent in Florida, a battleground state that is closely fought between Democrats and Republicans. (Politico reported in October: An online study conducted in August for the Venezuelan news site El Diario found that 66 percent of Venezuelan voters in Florida intend to vote for Trump. Even 53 percent of Venezuelans who describe themselves as Democrats said they will vote for him. Venezuelans see the Democratic Party as an agent of socialism in the United States.)

Both Maduro and Guaido congratulated Biden on his victory on Saturday.

Reporting by Mayela Armas in Caracas; Editing by Luc Cohen and Rosalba O’Brien

Published at reuters .com on November 9, 2020. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from Reuters.


NOTE: Before answering the following questions, read the info under “Background” and watch the video under “Resources” below.

1. List the who, what, where and when of the news report.

2. For what reasons has the Trump administration imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela’s socialist dictator Nicholas Maduro?

3. a) Who is Juan Guaido?
b) What have other countries done regarding Guaido?

4. What will Joe Biden’s Venezuela policy be, should he become the president?

5. Consider the “Background” and “Resources.” With which policy do you agree – President Trump’s current policy or Joe Biden’s proposed policy toward Venezuela? Explain your answer.

6. Politico reported on Oct. 20: An online study conducted in August for the Venezuelan news site El Diario found that 66 percent of Venezuelan voters in Florida intend to vote for Trump. Even 53 percent of Venezuelans who describe themselves as Democrats said they will vote for him.
a) Why do you think this is so when the media claims regularly that Trump is a racist, anti-immigration xenophobe?
b) What policy do you think Venezuelan-Americans would like to see the U.S. president take regarding President Maduro going forward? Explain your answer.


  • Democratically elected governments have [ruled] Venezuela since 1959. Hugo Chavez, president from 1999 until his death in 2013, promoted a controversial policy of “democratic socialism.”
  • Venezuela was once the richest, most stable, democracy in Latin America.  Under the presidency of Hugo Chávez, the country saw sweeping and radical shifts in social policy, moving away from the government officially embracing a free market economy and towards quasi-socialist income redistribution and social welfare programs. (from wikipedia)
  • Hugo Chávez promoted what he called 21st-century socialism, which included the nationalization of hundreds of companies, the seizure of large land holdings, price controls and currency regulations. He ruled Venezuela from 1999 until his death in 2013.
  • In speeches blaming capitalism for society’s ills, Mr. Chavez said his policies had made Venezuela a more prosperous country, independent of U.S. meddling and influence.
  • But throughout his presidency, Venezuela’s economy was plagued by blackouts, food shortages and a lack of investment, as government interventions, from price controls to the seizures of land and companies, squelched private enterprise.
  • Though his government was blessed by historically high oil prices, with a barrel hitting $150 in 2008, the economy in Venezuela expanded by about 3 percent a year through his presidency, while much of Latin America boomed. (from washingtonpost)
  • In June 2012, Hugo Chavez banned private ownership of guns in Venezuela, making it much easier to control the population. Unfortunately, criminals did not comply with the government ban.
  • Chavez died in 2013. Nicholas Maduro, a bus driver, was Chavez’s hand-picked successor. He has presided over hyper-inflation, mass shortages and on-going misery. Oil prices tanked in 2016 and Venezuela has no other source of revenue. (from CIA World FactBook, Wikipedia and Washington Post)
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