The Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC has followed up on the ouster of opposition figure Juan Guido, announcing that they will close the facility.
This effectively caps the US policy of the past several years. In early 2019, the US started backing Guaido as the leader of Venezuela, recognizing him as head of state and moving to oust actual President Maduro.
This included seizing revenue, setting up pro-Guaido forces in the embassy, and talking up military intervention to impose regime change.
While regime change was a pet plan of former President Trump, the Biden Administration says the policy is not changing and all sanctions will remain in place.
It isn’t totally clear what that means. The Administration plainly doesn’t want the public expecting anything,with State Dept officials reiterating that Maduro is not legitimate.
At the same time, this is a golden opportunity for the US to reverse course. Maduro says he wants normalization, but the US commitment to regime change, after years of failure, seems to be averse to making a policy change over Guaido’s fall.
The big question is where the US policy goes from here. Despite current claims, the status quo seems untenable, and just not recognizing Maduro likely means very little in practice.
Venezuela’s opposition has yet to tap a replacement leader, so the US may be waiting to endorse them to avoid giving the appearance America is dictating Venezuela’s future.