Tensions between the US and Venezuela have been renewed. Washington withdrew the visa to the Venezuelan ambassador Bernardo Alvarez in retaliation for Caracas's rejection of Ambassador Larry Palmer. The United States took "appropriate, proportionate and reciprocal measures" with Venezuela the US State Department said. In response, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that "if the US government is to expel our ambassador there, let them do so. If they are to cut diplomatic relations, let them do so.

The trouble began when Palmer made comments to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about low morale in the Venezuelan military and his concerns regarding Colombian FARC rebels finding refuge on Venezuelan soil. Last August, Chavez announced that he would not accept Palmer's appointment.

United States and Venezuela withdrew their ambassadors from September 2008 to June 2009, at one of the worse moments in their diplomatic relations, over a disagreement about U.S. military bases in Colombia.

  • Chavez challenges Washington to cut diplomatic ties
  • US: Keeping relations with Venezuela is in our national interest
  • US revokes visa of Venezuelan Ambassador
  • Venezuela with no ambassador to the United States
  • Lawmaker describes as "aggression" withdrawal of Venezuelan ambassador's visa
  • "If relations break-off, it would be Obama's and Hillary Clinton's fault."
  • "We are not going to receive in our home an unwelcome person."
  • Palmer's nomination has been rejected several times due to his interventionist statements
  • Venezuela delivers a protest note to the US
  • Chavez: "Give Mr. Palmer a coffee from me, and then he has to return to his country."

From the Press and Venezuelan Embassy:

December 30, 2010

Chavez challenges Washington to cut diplomatic ties

"If the government (of the United States) is to expel our ambassador there, let them do so. If they are to cut diplomatic relations, let them do so," said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in reference to the White House's insistence that Caracas accept the new US ambassador-designate Larry Palmer.

Chavez stressed that […] "now the United States government threatens that they will retaliate. Well, let them do as they please, but that man will not come."

Chavez insisted that Palmer blasted "the Venezuelan Armed Forces," when he answered a questionnaire during the process of ratification at the United States Senate. Chavez's comments came during the annual salutation to the National Armed Forces. […]

US: Keeping relations with Venezuela is in our national interest

Washington believes that having an ambassador to Caracas is in the interest of the United States, given the diplomatic tensions between the two countries, said State Department spokesman Mark Toner. […]on December 29. On December 28, President Hugo Chavez once again rejected Palmer's appointment.

"Our position remains that we believe it is in our national interest to maintain diplomatic relations with Venezuela," the spokesman added. "[…] we believe that it's precisely because there's tension in the relationship, that it's important to maintain diplomatic communications at the highest level," Toner said in a press conference.

"Only through a candid conversation with the Venezuelan government we will be able to discuss those differences," he stressed. Chavez reignited the diplomatic dispute on December 28 and challenged the US to "cut diplomatic relations." […] The State Department had warned […] that Caracas' attitude would have "consequences," but Toner refused to say what measures the US would take. […]

US revokes visa of Venezuelan Ambassador

The United States "revoked" the visa to Venezuela's ambassador in Washington, Bernardo Alvarez, said Venezuelan Deputy Foreign Minister Temir Porras […]. The decision came one day after President Hugo Chavez revived a diplomatic dispute with the United States and challenged Washington to "cut diplomatic relations" for the impasse related to US ambassador-designate Larry Palmer. […] El Universal (Venezuela)

December 30, 2010

Venezuela with no ambassador to the United States

The United States took "appropriate, proportionate and reciprocal measures" with Venezuela, the US State Department said on December 29, after Caracas reported that the diplomatic visa of its ambassador to Washington, Bernardo Alvarez, was revoked. […]

Therefore, Venezuela is left without an ambassador to the United States as the White House decided to revoke the visa of Bernardo Alvarez, who occupied that position for seven years , and is currently in the country enjoying a vacation. […]

The move came 24 hours after President Hugo Chavez reiterated that he will not accept Larry Palmer as representative of the US Government in Caracas. Further, Chavez challenged his US counterpart, Barack Obama, to expel the head of the Venezuelan legation in Washington. […] El Universal (Venezuela)

December 30, 2010

Lawmaker describes as "aggression" withdrawal of Venezuelan ambassador's visa

The President of the Foreign Policy Committee of the National Assembly, Roy Daza, said […] that the measure implemented by the United States of revoking the visa of the Venezuelan Ambassador to that country, Bernardo Alvarez, shows a radicalization in Washington's policy of aggression to the South American nation.

"We categorically reject said measure, because it is an obvious retaliation in the framework of the aggression dynamic against the country," the deputy said.

"It seems as if the most radical posits within Barack Obama's Administration are imposing [things on us]," he added.

Daza stated that, just in 2010, he has recorded 29 attacks from US State Department officials against Venezuela, with their [the State Department] even trying to meddling into internal affairs. The reason for this strategy, he said, is that the US continues with its politically imperialistic mentality.

Daza considers that the only way out of this situation, caused by President Hugo Chavez's rejection of Larry Palmer as the US Ambassador to Venezuela, is a formal apology from Palmer for his speech at the US Senate.

"If relations break-off, it would be Obama's and Hillary Clinton's fault."

"If relations break-off, it would be Obama's and Hillary Clinton's fault," he warned.

The US State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, ratified […] the decision: "Yes, we said there would be consequences when the Venezuelan government rescinded the agreement regarding our nominee, Larry Palmer. We have taken appropriate, proportional and reciprocal action."

Daza recalled that the withdrawal Palmer's nomination was a result of his statements against Venezuelan institutions, which were disproportionate and regrettable insults. "We cannot accept someone who has attacked the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, the National Electoral Council, the National Assembly, President Chavez and the entire Venezuelan democracy," he stressed.

In Daza's opinion, the insistence of the US nominating Palmer for the post just shows its lack of interest in solving this issue.

Last August, Palmer said he had information about the alleged low morale of the Venezuelan Armed Forces; [the statement] was considered by Caracas as a "serious precedent of intervention and meddling for someone that has not even touched the Venezuelan territory."

"We have withdrawn the approval for that Ambassador nominee. Now the Government of the United States is threatening us, saying there will be consequences. They can do whatever they want, but that person will not come here as Ambassador. Someone can come as Ambassador if he shows respect. This country must be respected," Chavez stated […]. AVN (Venezuela)

December 30, 2010

"We are not going to receive in our home an unwelcome person"

Roy Chaderton, elected PSUV representative to the Latin American Parliament* and ambassador to the Organization of the American States (OAS), said […] that any negative situation that could occur in the relation between the United States and Venezuela will be the [US's] fault. Chaderton was referring to the revoking of the visa of the Ambassador of Venezuela to the US, Bernardo Alvarez, implemented by the State Department as retaliation for the sovereign decision of the Venezuelan Government in withdrawing the approval of Larry Palmer as the Ambassador of the US to Venezuela.

"The Government of the United States, instead of recognizing the whole intrigue [from Palmer] against our country, has decided to threaten us because it believed that we would retreat. Anything negative that occurs will be the United States' responsibility," he pointed out.

The deputy commented that his country keeps an open policy "on any progress that could be reached in the bilateral relations [with the US] on the basis of mutual respect between the two countries; however, we are not going to receive in our home an unwelcome person that has offended our country," Chaderton said in reference to Palmer.

He recalled that Washington's nominee as Ambassador to Venezuela, Larry Palmer, made offensive and interventionist statements against the current Government.

"We, complying with our duty of dignity and self-respect, decided to withdraw the approval that was previously granted" to Palmer, Chaderton explained.

Palmer's nomination has been rejected several times due to his interventionist statements

Moreover, he said that the Government of the President Hugo Chavez, in the face of the revoking of the visa to the Venezuelan Ambassador, "is evaluating the case responsibly and he will make the corresponding decision."

Larry Palmer's nomination as Ambassador to Venezuela has been rejected several times by Venezuela, due to interventionist statements made by the diplomat.

Larry Palmer attacked Venezuela's sovereignty in August. He said that he was "convinced" that Venezuela shelters Colombian illegal groups within its territory, and he said that President Chavez "has explicitly rejected the principle of separation of powers and has increased his control over the judiciary and legislative powers." AVN (Venezuela)

December 20, 2010

Venezuela delivers a protest note to the US

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, through the Ministry of People's Power for Foreign Affairs, delivered a protest note to the U.S. Government to reject "the recent statements made by the Department of State's spokespeople on Venezuela."

The note was delivered by the Director of the Foreign Affairs Minister's Office Temir Porras Ponceleón to the Chargé d'affaires of the U.S. Embassy accredited in Caracas, Darnall Steuart.

The document states that "according to press reports, the U.S Senate 'is just a step from confirming' the appointment of Larry Palmer as the U.S. Ambassador to Caracas, despite Palmer's unacceptable remarks that caused the withdrawal of the agrément granted by the Bolivarian Government in good faith. "

Chavez: "Give Mr. Palmer a coffee from me, and then he has to return to his country."

These statements confirm the historical line of intervention and aggression against the Venezuelan people, its institutions and democracy.

During a meeting with the leadership of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) held on Saturday, December 18, in Caracas, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez reiterated the Venezuelan government's refusal to grant agrément to Palmer as an envoy of the White House in Venezuela.

"He disqualified himself (…) Then the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela, published on his website that they had approved his appointment and that he would travel to Venezuela. If he comes here, grab him, [Minister] Nicolas [Maduro], grab him," President Chávez said. "Give Mr. Palmer a coffee from me, and then he has to return to his country. Bye-bye" Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S

* The Latin American Parliament (Parlatino), is a regional, permanent organization composed by the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

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