Biden heralds shift in US strategy toward Venezuela

Washington: President Donald Trump's election defeat marks the end of a hardline pressure policy designed to oust Venezuela's leftist president Nicolas Maduro, and the arrival of Joe Biden in the White House in January could pave the way for a political solution to the crisis in that country.

Acute tension marked the Trump administration's ties with Maduro, whose second term as president is not recognized by some 50 countries, led by the US. They consider opposition leader Juan Guaido to be the legitimate leader of oil-rich Venezuela.

Trump's strategy of sanctions to strangle the Venezuelan economy included a veiled threat of military force to topple Maduro -- he warned often that "all options are on the table."

But it failed, and Maduro remains in power in the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas.

The economy, meanwhile, is a basket case, with Venezuelans enduring hyperinflation and shortages of food, medicine and just about everything -- including such basics as soap and toilet paper. - AFP