Venezuela is mired in a prolonged, multifaceted crisis, to which no solutions are in sight. In the wake of the country’s December 2020 parliamentary election, the EU needs to rethink some of the basic premises of its policy toward Venezuela. Instead of quarreling about which domestic actors and political institutions should be recognized as democratic, the EU should approach the country through a lens of conflict resolution. While a democracy-based framework divides the EU and a broad range of other external actors, a framework focused on conflict resolution may increase the chances of a more coordinated international response. That approach may be more likely to lead—eventually and indirectly—to some kind of inclusive political settlement in Venezuela.
The external promotion of democracy, a long-standing and bipartisan U.S. foreign policy goal and key to the reproduction of U.S. national identity, has come under unprecedented trouble under the Trump administration. What will U.S. democracy promotion policy likely look like under a second Trump administration, and what would it be under a President Biden? In neither scenario, a return to the status quo ante is likely.