Fourteen years of tensions between Washington and Caracas
A switch of administration from democrat to republican will have no impact on US-Venezuela bilateral relations, according to analysts
US-Venezuela diplomatic and trade relations had been cordial until Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez first took office.
Under republican George W. Bush (2000-2004), tensions with the Venezuelan president prevailed. Since 2010, diplomatic relations between the democrat administration of Barack Obama and the Venezuelan government of President Chávez have been at a standstill.
Tensions have prevailed ever since Washington revoked the visa of then Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Álvarez in response to Caracas refusal to accept Larry Palmer as the US ambassador to Venezuela.
"Obama's administration has included Chávez's top generals and most reliable men in a list of drug lords and drug-money launderers. Thus, one may expect a continuing hard-line policy towards Caracas, without breaking ties completely," explained from Paris Luis de Lion, attorney at law and internationalist.
Trade relations have not been severed, though. The US is still Venezuela's first trade partner as it buys 1.5 million oil barrels per day out of the 2.5 million barrels Venezuela exports daily.
Nevertheless, during the first half of 2012, oil exports to the US dropped 15.75% (USD 3.4 billion) as against the same period in 2011, the Venezuelan-American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VenAmCham) informed.
Meanwhile, non-oil exports went up 31.04% (USD 764 million) during the same period.
Overall, exports totaled USD 8 billion, rising 43.07%, according to a report compiled by VenAmCham.
Regarding a likely change in US administration from democrat to republican, De Lion was confident that although there may be further tensions between the US and Venezuela, as well as the rest of the "Bolivarian" countries in the region, there will be no significant changes in the administration, as the US foreign policy does not change frequently.
Furthermore, the expert in foreign affairs explained that Latin America is not Washington's top priority. Rather the US is concern about the situation in Syria and Iran. "In Latin America, Brazil will keep on playing the role of the messenger of the region," he asserted.
Translated by Jhean Cabrera
The news marked an ominous beginning, health-wise, of the year 2015: the Cardiovascular Surgery Unit at Hospital Clínico Universitario, one of the country's largest teaching hospitals, was to close completely on January 5 due to lack of medicines and surgical supplies. All patients who were waiting to be operated on were sent home. More than 10 patients waiting for surgery reportedly died there from lack of basic medical supplies in the two months prior to the closure.