Biden Extends Order Declaring Venezuela a Threat to US Security

Will maintain Trump-era sanctions against Venezuela

Early in his presidency, Joe Biden was eager to declare America is back on the world stage, but policy changes are slow coming. On Wednesday, Biden issued a new executive order extending the declaration of Venezuela as a “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

This is an extension of an order by President Obama, which was extended by Trump. Biden’s action once again points to the continuation of the status quo in US foreign policy. Officials indicate Trump-imposed sanctions against Venezuela will also stay intact.

Trump’s Venezuela policy was defined by unilaterally declaring an opposition figure as the “legitimate” president, and then heavily sanctioning the de facto government for not accepting his decision. It’s not clear if Biden will be insisting on that same regime change that Trump was waiting on, but so long as the sanctions remain intact, that’s a distinction with little difference.

On the other hand, it continues a failed policy, as despite Trump’s declaration of Juan Guaido as the new president of Venezuela, he came no closer to taking power over the country, and the Maduro government came no closer to falling.

Keeping the US on an unfriendly track with Venezuela is perhaps not a shocking decision, as the executive order was already bipartisan. Yet it once again paints Biden as taking the safe decisions and not messing with the status quo, particularly where the existing policy was disastrously misguided.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.