Venezuela says taking steps to restore U.S. diplomatic ties

CARACAS Sun May 19, 2013 11:00pm EDT

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Elias Jaua speaks during a press statement with his Brazilian counterpart Antonio Patriota (not pictured) at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia April 9, 2013. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Elias Jaua speaks during a press statement with his Brazilian counterpart Antonio Patriota (not pictured) at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia April 9, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino

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CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's recent designation of an acting head of its diplomatic mission in the United States shows the OPEC nation's desire to restore full diplomatic relations, the foreign minister said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

Disputes between Caracas and Washington were common during the 14-year-rule of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, leaving both nations without ambassadors in each other's capitals.

Foreign Minister Elias Jaua suggested in a televised interview that the move to name government ally Calixto Ortega as charge d'affaires in Washington could be a prelude to restoring ambassadors.

"This is a message for U.S. politicians so they understand Venezuela's desire to normalize relations ... via the designation of the highest diplomatic authorities," he said. "Why? Because the United States remains our top trade partner."

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has in recent months said he wants better ties with Washington as long as the relationship is respectful. But he has also accused the United States of seeking to destabilize the country.

Last month, he slammed the United States for "vulgar" meddling after the State Department said it had not decided if it would recognize his presidency and supported opposition calls for a vote recount after the April 14 election.

He won that vote, triggered by Chavez's death, by 1.5 percentage points. The opposition refused to accept the results and is challenging the election in the country's top court.

In 2008, Chavez expelled U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy from Caracas in a dispute over what the late president called Washington's involvement in violent protests in Bolivia.

In 2010, he blocked Washington's nomination of diplomat Larry Palmer as ambassador in protest of Palmer's comments that there were "clear ties" between members of Chavez's government and leftist Colombian rebels.

The State Department responded by revoking the visa of Venezuela's ambassador.

(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

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Comments (4)
mvideva wrote:
I think that Venezuela will have a benefit if the country maintains good relations with the US. As stated in the article, this is a top trade partner for Venezuela. This is absolutely against the politics of Huge Chavez. However, i believe that the new president, Maduro will change the whole look of Venezuela and will contribute to the development of the country.

May 19, 2013 11:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Luiszrp wrote:
Venezuela should prove first that it’s a Democratic country. The last election and lack of proper ballot tallying indicates a huge fraud was committed by the ruling party.
No to negotiating with DeFacto regimens.

May 19, 2013 11:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Zzzoney wrote:
IMO, it would be helpful for more citrus imports from Venezuela as Florida USA trees have greening issues with molding diseases much more frequently and with a secondary barrier of diminished ” bee ” polinators. Too many environmental issues with central Florida citrus and it’s lack of oversight and control within the agricultural leaders to make a healthy and safe product. The State of Florida is currently seeking answers to the disease epidemic within the citrus groves by testing at the local universities. Florida is so rich in insects and warm weather, that much chemical applications for pesticides and herbacides are used and are also a health risk to the elderly population here in central Florida counties, and specifically to the respiratory systems of these people from neighboring grove properties subject to over spray on windy days from the chemical mist that travels into open windows and putting open pet dishes at contamination risk. These groves are so abundant they make for a much higher mold and mildew content in the weather and the E.P.A. seems to not be as concerned about these matters. Many stories on the subject can be found in the Highlands Today News/Agriculture

May 19, 2013 11:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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