Thursday, June 6, 2013

Venezuela: John Kerry, Elias Jaua Meet in Antiqua During OAS General Assembly

According to EFE, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua met with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Antigua on Wednesday (June 5) whereby the two counterparts agreed “that we would like to see our countries find a new way forward.”

After the cabinet officials met during the OAS General Assembly in Guatemala Secretary Kerry said that the US and Venezuela want to “establish a more constructive and positive relationship” after years of strained ties.

A priority of the bilateral dialogue will be reaching an accord to exchange ambassadors once again exchange ambassadors, considering that diplomatic relations between Washington and Caracas have been conducted at the level of charge d’affaires since late 2010.

COMMENT: Secretary Kerry also took the opportunity to thank the Venezuelan government for sending home a US independent filmmaker, Tim Tracy, 35, who was arrested in Caracas in April and accused of espionage. Releasing Tracy on the day the two men met in Antiqua was hardly a mere coincidence and in fact was an "olive branch" extended by President Muduro.

Another factor that may very well have germinated the meeting between the two men may stem from the fact that the US has not as yet officially recognized President Nicolás Maduro as head of state of Venezuela, an issue that is particularly important to Venezuela.

Venezuela is also a key player and member of the South American trade bloc known as MERCOSUR, which may in time benefit the US from the standpoint of multilateral trade in the region.

Particularly with the passing of the late President Hugo Chávez in March 2013, if the two countries can work toward agreeing on an exchange of ambassadors, perhaps there may be other issues that two adversaries during the Chávez years can potentially agree on.