Sunday, July 21, 2013

Venezuela: Foreign Ministry Announces It Is Ending Normalizing Relations with US

Venezuela’s government said it was calling off efforts begun six weeks ago to normalize ties with the United States following remarks by the nominee to be the next US ambassador to the United Nations.

According to The Latin American Tribune, Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry announced on Friday (July 19) that it was withdrawing its plan to normalize relations with Washington after remarks made by Samantha Power, US ambassador-designate to the UN, the latter of whom pledged during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that she would contest “the crackdown on civil society being carried out in countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela.”

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro also demanded that the Obama Administration apologize for Powers' derogatory comment.

COMMENT: US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said late on Friday, though, that Power was an outstanding and highly competent nominee, adding that “we support her completely.”

Powers easily could have modified her negative statement regarding Russia and Venezuela, as it is in the US' best interests to maintain improved relations with both nations.

Ties between Caracas and Washington soured during the presidency of the late Hugo Chávez, a vehement critic of US foreign policy who was Maduro’s mentor and predecessor, and reached their most recent low point in 2010, when a diplomatic row saw relations reduced to the level of charge d’affaires.