The U.S. finds itself in a position that has not been the norm in quite a while. The Maduro government of Venezuela is fighting just about everybody. The Trump administration’s very early endorsement of leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s acting president set the stage for a realignment in Latin America as it pertains to the U.S.
Latin America had been somewhat restive to being friends of the U.S. before this endorsement. Many countries now agree with the move President Trump made. This may be a little bit of an enemy of my enemy is my friend thinking, but it is a move in the direction of cooperation that has not been seen in a long while.
The very apparent change in attitude toward the U.S. has been the emerging political and diplomatic alignment against the Maduro presidency among states throughout the Americas. History has shown that U.S. foreign policy has been ham-handed in its handling of Latin America, which has produced resentment of and resistance to America’s endeavors throughout the region.
Venezuela’s demise has allowed a common ground for the U.S. and the Latin American region to rally around. The political agreements on Venezuela may give new life to future U.S. engagement with Latin America. The Trump administration recognized Guaidó’s announcement within hours and in concert with much of the region.
As the crisis continues in Venezuela, the number of countries recognizing Guaidó as the legitimate leader of the country has grown by the day. Former supporters for the Maduro government have flipped their loyalties; few holdouts remain. And Maduro still has allies among some Latin American nations such as Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua. Uruguay and Mexico have taken a more neutral stance and have not committed to who the leader of Venezuela is either way.
This consensus may seem perfectly sensible. The remarkable alignment of the U.S. with over a dozen regional states in Latin America is indeed a monumental shift in relations.
Hopefully, the U.S. can maintain the progress this situation in Venezuela has provided. If the U.S. can exploit this moment in history and show new cooperation with its regional partners to help the Venezuelan people move to a new democratic and free system of government, an entirely new chapter in American relations with Latin America could be on the horizon.