Upon his travel to the US in mid-March, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has engaged in talks with the Trump administration in order to resolve issues that revolve around one theme: Venezuela. Here lies the question: what can the collaboration between two administrations do in order to put an end to the crisis Venezuelans are facing?
It appears that the current Venezuelan crisis could pave the way to a stronger relationship between the US and Brazil. After all, presidents Trump and Bolsonaro have both spoken against Venezuelan president Maduro’s regime, and it’s no secret that they want to have opposition leader Juan Guaido replacing Maduro.
However, when viewed on a deeper level, it would seem that the issue might end up undoing the hopes for a stronger relationship between two countries. Even if Maduro is ousted from his position, the economic downfall of Venezuela is inevitable. Once that happens, someone will have to be responsible for Venezuela’s economic and humanitarian restoration.
Unfortunately, no one really knows how much the restoration will cost. A figure from economic development professor Ricardo Hausmann of the Harvard University sits at a calculated cost of at least $60 billion. However, this can easily go up if the neighboring Colombia, which is affected by Venezuela’s spillover migration crisis, is supported as well.
The Trump administration has been actively against spending funds on foreign aid. However, with European countries such as Portugal, the IMF will likely have to help restore the Venezuelan economy. As a result, the US will have to support what it has rejected so as to provide greater voting power to the IMF where Brazil is included, a move that would end up strengthening the bond between the US and Brazil.
However, before they can talk about what comes next after Maduro is ousted, both administrations should first come up with a strategy and both agree on it. US national security adviser John Bolton still considers military intervention a more effective option, while Ernesto Araujo, Brazil’s foreign minister, continues to take a tough stance against the Maduro administration.