Tensions rising as US revokes Venezuelan ambassador's visa

Diplomatic tensions between Washington and Caracas were rising as US revoked the visa of Venezuela's ambassador to Washington.

Tensions rising as US revokes Venezuelan ambassador's visa

Diplomatic tensions between Washington and Caracas were rising as the United States on Wednesday revoked the visa of Venezuela's ambassador to Washington.

The move comes after President Hugo Chavezs rejected a nominated U.S. envoy openly critical of his government.

Chavez had blocked Larry Palmer's arrival after the American diplomat accused Venezuela's government of close ties to leftist Colombian rebels. He also alleged declining morale and professionalism in Venezuela's armed forces.

The revocation of the diplomatic visa means Venezuela's envoy, Bernardo Alvarez Herrera will not be able to enter the United States, but does not imply that he is being formally expelled from Washington. A US visa can be revoked and reinstated just as quickly.

The two countries are longtime political adversaries, and US-Venezuela ties have been strained in recent years. Chavez has repeatedly denounced "American imperialism".

The South American OPEC member, which is in a second year of recession, sells about 1.2 million barrels per day of oil and products to the United States. That makes Venezuela the fifth biggest U.S. supplier after Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Nigeria.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Caracas had brought the visa measure upon itself.

"We said there would be consequences when the Venezuelan government rescinded agreement regarding our nominee, Larry Palmer. We have taken appropriate, proportional and reciprocal action," Toner told reporters in an e-mail.

"Respect"

There was no immediate reaction from Chavez but U.S.-Venezuelan lawyer Eva Golinger, who is a close ally of his, condemned the move as unjustified.

"USA revokes the visa of the Venezuelan ambassador in Washington in revenge for the decision on Larry Palmer," she was quoted by Venezuelan state media as saying.

"Such cynicism and hypocrisy."

Alvarez was believed to be out of the country on Wednesday.

But earlier on Wednesday, the United States said it was "important" to maintain ties with Venezuela.

On Tuesday, Chavez told Washington to "cut off diplomatic relations" over his opposition to Obama's nominee Palmer, who was highly critical of Chavez during his US Senate confirmation hearings.

"If the (US) government wants to expel our ambassador there, let them! If they cut off diplomatic relations, let them," Chavez said on state television.

Palmer's appointment is still awaiting Senate confirmation.

Obama in June appointed Palmer to replace Patrick Duddy as ambassador to Caracas. From September 2008 to June 2009, Washington and Caracas withdrew their ambassadors as diplomatic relations reached a low point over US military bases in Colombia.

Chavez in August announced he would "veto" Palmer's appointment over his comments during his Senate confirmation hearing that Venezuela harbored leftist guerrillas from Colombia and that the Venezuelan military was under Cuban influence and low in morale.

"For an ambassador to come here, he must respect this country... I would lack dignity if I allowed that gentleman to come to Venezuela," Chavez said at the time.


Agencies

Last Mod: 30 Aralık 2010, 10:16
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Wright
Wright - 10 yıl Before

This is too bad for Venezuelans , as one poor choice for an Ambassador , can bring about a downfall of diplomatic relations. The Venezuelan and American people deserve normal and friendly relations at the Government level , as our two people have great common bonds and future opportunities for economic development.