Long-Time Venezuelan Diplomat Bernardo Álvarez Dies, 60

Venezuela's ambassador to the Organization of American States died Friday at the age of 60 in Caracas. 

By Jeanette Charles
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Bernardo Alvarez served as a high-level diplomat under both the Chávez and Maduro administrations. (AVN)
Bernardo Alvarez served as a high-level diplomat under both the Chávez and Maduro administrations. (AVN)

Los Angeles, November 29th 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan ambassador to the Organization of American States and former ambassador to the US and Spain, Bernardo Álvarez, died Friday at the age of 60 in Caracas. President Nicolás Maduro announced the long time diplomat’s death but did not provide a cause of death.

Álvarez served as ambassador in Washington D.C. from 2003-2010 except from 2008-2009 when Venezuelan withdrew its ambassador after expelling US official Larry Palmer from Caracas under the Chávez administration. 

Álvarez regularly spoke of the growing popular power model growing throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and the state’s evolving relationship with the people.

In the OAS, Álvarez challenged other countries that tried to intervene in Venezuela and emphasized that the drastic drop in oil prices not only affected Venezuela’s economy but a plethora of other nations. 

Minister Counselor for the Venezuelan Embassy in the United States Carlos Ron invited individuals who wished to pay their respects for the late ambassador to come to the Venezuelan Embassy in Georgetown and sign a book of condolences. 

“Those of you who had the fortune to know him personally can surely attest to his kindness, his passion in defending his ideals and his country, and his unrelenting commitment to achieving, through diplomacy, a relationship of mutual recognition and respect between the Venezuela and the United States,” Ron expressed in an official statement.

Venezuelan Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas also expressed his condolences via Twitter after the late ambassador’s death. "It's hard to believe, but it's true. Bernardo Álvarez left us, [he was] an extraordinary human being, friend and comrade. Until forever, brother,” read Villegas’ statement.

Likewise, Caracas Mayor Daniel Aponte lamented Álvarez’s death saying, “Sad news...The death of our great comrade and always loyal Ambassador and Vice-Chancellor Bernardo Álvarez. Peace to your soul!”

In recent days, Maduro announced the creation of the Bernardo Álvarez Mission dedicated to spreading the truth about Venezuela internationally. Maduro made the announcement as he repeated his call for President Barack Obama to repeal the decree against the South American nation declaring it an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to US national security.

Álvarez was born in Carora, Lara state on August 18,1956 and studied political science at the Central Venezuelan University (UCV). He earned his master’s degree in development studies from the University of Sussex, England. 

Álvarez also served as a political-science professor at the UCV and worked in a variety of government positions including the Ministry of Energy and Mines. Álvarez led the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) from 2013-2015 in addition to serving as Venezuelan ambassador in Madrid. 

On Monday, President Maduro honored Álvarez by posthumously awarding him the Order of Francisco Miranda Medal in recognition of his service to the nation.