Los Angeles, June 15, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – The United States and Venezuela announced Tuesday that the two nations will begin diplomatic talks to alleviate long-standing tensions. The announcement came after Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Relations Delcy Rodríguez met with Secretary of State John Kerry during the 46th Organization of American States General Assembly in the Dominican Republic.
President Nicolás Maduro celebrated the invitation for high-level talks and reiterated his support to restore ambassador’s in each nation’s capitals. In 2014, Maduro proposed an ambassador however, President Barack Obama has yet to approve the selection.
The proposal comes eight years since former President Hugo Chávez expelled U.S. envoy to Venezuela Patrick Duddy denouncing suspicions that the US government was supporting an assassination attempt and a coup plot.
“Let’s start this high-level encounter, I agree,” Maduro said in Caracas. “I propose to John Kerry ‘let’s designate ambassadors’. I am ready. They have ambassadors in Beijing, Vietnam and Havana, and they don’t have one in Caracas.”
Kerry assured talks would begin “as soon as possible” in Caracas.
“Let’s see if we can improve the relationship,” Kerry said at the OAS summit.
Thomas Shannon, one of the state department’s top officials will take lead on the US end.
Last year Shannon spearheaded talks with Venezuela in Caracas and Haiti that ultimately dissolved between the two nations. This past November, the high-ranking US official also advocated for US sanctions on Venezuela.
"We have agreed to maintain a dialogue immediately that will work for her (Rodriguez), for me and Tom Shannon, and will continue conversations of the talks he had (in Caracas)” said Kerry after his first meeting with the Venezuelan Foreign Relations Minister.
“Shannon will travel first there (Venezuela) and meet with them again, but with a specific view, with a fuller agenda," he continued.
This latest news comes as Minister Rodríguez alleged that Venezuela is the target of “international bullying from the right,” following several years of an economic war and targetted media attacks against the South American nation and President Maduro.
“Every day we have evidence of the secretary general's bias in favor of sectors of the opposition who are seeking a coup in Venezuela," she highlighted.
“I see now this is ordered by Washington. I know they are on Washington’s payroll to meddle in the domestic affairs of Venezuela,” Rodríguez asserted.
However, during their meeting, Kerry publicly stated that the US did not support OAS Secretary General’s push to suspend Venezuela from the regional bloc for allegedly violating the OAS Democratic Charter.
"The United States is not taking that position, we are not pushing for a suspension. I don't think that would be constructive," he confirmed.
Nonetheless, Kerry voiced his support for the recall referendum and the release of “political prisoners” such as opposition leader and instigator of the guarimba violent protests in 2014, Leopoldo López. Secretary Kerry said, the US was “not taking sides, we are just supporting the constitutional process”.
Kerry’s comments are the most direct statements that the US has made in recent months regarding the South American nation.
Kerry also expressed the US support for the UNASUR talks facilitated by former Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, former Dominican president Leonel Fernández and former Panamanian president Martín Torrijos — between Maduro’s administration and the opposition.