Spanish newspaper El Pais had a scoop last week: at the beginning of June, Juan Gonzalez and Jorge Rodriguez — President Joe Biden’s adviser on Latin American affairs and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s right-hand man respectively — secretly met in Qatar.

The focus of the meeting? Exploring ways to unblock the two countries’ bilateral relations, heavily strained over the Trump administration’s crippling sanctions against Venezuela, which were initiated amid accusations of Maduro’s dictatorial drift. Various U.S. embargoes have been in place against the country since 2005, though Trump imposed tougher economic sanctions beginning in 2017.

The meeting in Qatar was not expected to deliver any major breakthroughs, which neither Washington or Caracas seem prepared for at the moment. Rather, it was about establishing a direct, high-level channel of communication to discuss future relations.


The article describes that Qatar acted as a mediator between the United States and Venezuela, which is surprising since geographically Qatar is far away from Latin America. You would think that another Latin American country would want to act as a mediator between Venezuela and the United States, or perhaps even a country like China, but instead Qatar was chosen as a mediator. What qualities or factors contribute to Qatar being considered a suitable mediator between Venezuela and the United States?


1 Answer 1


Venezuela somehow swims in the circles of Hamas and Hezbollah. Qatar was a mediator between US/Israel and Hamas. Connect the dots.

Also, Venezuela has bad relations with most Latin America, except the "axis of resistance" over there: Nicaragua and Cuba. (Iranian president Raisi toured Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua in summer of '23.)

Venezuela presumably has had somewhat regular meetings with Qatar because they're both members of the OPEC. And

Crucially, Qatar did not follow suit when the United States endorsed opposition frontrunner Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president [...]

Acting as a go-between in U.S.-Venezuela talks offers Doha a low-risk solution to continue repairing its international reputation of neutral mediation, which was weakened by its interventionism during the Arab Spring. It also allows the country to hedge its security bets by proving useful to the United States, a key security guarantor, while maintaining relations with Iran—one of Venezuela’s closest economic and military partners in recent years. [...]

Overall, Qatar’s relations with Iran and history of U.S.-Iran mediation afford it an advantage in dealing with Latin American countries that are growing closer to Tehran. This is particularly true for Venezuela in the wake of Maduro’s 2022 visit to Iran, where he signed a 20-year cooperation plan with President Ebrahim Raisi.

  • If you want to know more how bad are Venezuela's relations with the rest of Latin America right now "Almost every country in Latin America has recognized Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan opposition leader who on Wednesday declared himself the country's interim president." It looks like only Uruguay, Guyana, and St. Lucia didn't take sides then (2019). Feb 24 at 17:35
  • Maduro then annexed on paper a large part of Guyana. Feb 24 at 17:37

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