With Venezuela in line for a new leader, the United States is looking to improve ties with a minimum of disruption. President Hugo Chavez has been the most outspoken anti-US leader in Latin America. Washington hopes calmer voices will prevail in Caracas. Experts in the US capital tells us what may be in store.

Eric Olson, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said: “There is engagement and intense interest in what goes on there and overall a desire to remain engaged and to see that Venezuela’s democratic transition be preserved and built upon.”

Olson said: “[There was] a lot of harsh rhetoric from Chavez against the United States, and the US has been critical of some aspects of the Chavez government, obviously. So it has been somewhat cold, but underneath that is always a desire on the part of the United States to have communication with Venezuela, to establish normal sort of relations.”

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