Sunday, July 21, 2013

Nicolás Maduro infuriated by U.S. ambassador nominee's comments about Venezuela, as relations hit a new low

"I emphatically reject every word of these unjust and false declarations by Señora Samantha Power"

Guadalajara -
Just when you thought diplomatic relations couldn't get any worse between Venezuela and the United States, they have.

Washington has been rattling its saber for days about the Edward Snowden case, to which Caracas has responded quite predictably. U.S. continues to hammer Venezuela over Snowden case.

But now yet darker clouds loom on the southern horizon, and at a particularly inopportune time.

The Obama administration's nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in recent days that "we have to respond to social and political repression which is going on in countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia and Venezuela."

To be sure, the remarks came during Power's confirmation hearing, and the Senate must advise and consent if her nomination is to be confirmed and she is to take her seat. Nonetheless, if they weren't calculated to enrage Nicolás Maduro, they certainly had that effect.

On Thursday Maduro went ballistic. "What 'repression'?," he asked. "The repression is in the United States, where they're persecuting young Mr. Snowden - and for what? For telling the truth!"

Maduro demanded Power's nomination be withdrawn. That's not going to happen, of course. But to add insult to injury, yesterday the State Dept. called Power a "consummate professional, incredibly competent, whom we back completely."

Maduro quickly announced that he was putting on indefinite hold plans to resume normal diplomatic relations with the United States. Neither country has had a full ambassador in the other's capital since 2010. But on June 6 U.S. secretary of state John Kerry and Venezuelan foreign minister Elías Jaua held a successful tête-à-tête, and agreed to let bygones be bygones. That event occurred the same day Venezuela expelled an American "seditionist," thereby sparing him criminal prosecution. Venezuela deports American Timothy Hallet Tracy after dropping espionage charges.

Now all that's history, and not likely to return anytime soon - especially with Edward Snowden hard at work on his Spanish, and already searching for the best one-way airfares from Moscow to Caracas.

MGR's view - Whoever is in charge of the Venezuelan desk in the State Dept. should be "returned to the private sector" - posthaste.

Samantha Power, U.N. ambassador nominee, speaks on human rights abuses - by the USA
Edward Snowden: Washington's massive miscalculation

July 6 - Bolivia joins the crowd: Morales offers Snowden asylum
July 5 - Evo Morales: "We will close the U.S. embassy in La Paz"
June 27 - Ecuador's gutsy "stick it"
June 27 - Ecuador unilaterally cancels beneficial trade pact with U.S.

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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