Merida, April 24th 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Yesterday Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro named a new head of Venezuela’s diplomatic mission in Washington. The move followed some tension over possible sanctions, and the US refusing to recognise Venezuela’s election results.
Maduro appointed Calixto Ortega, a member of Venezuela’s delegation to the Latin American parliament, as chargé d’affaires in Washington.
“Ortega has a lot of knowledge of US society, and we know that he will contribute a lot towards increasing dialogue ...We want to have the best ties with all the world's governments, and the U.S government, but on the basis of respect. There can be no threats," said Maduro
"I have decided to name Calixto Ortega so that dialogue with U.S society can increase, with the universities, the academic world, the social and union world, the Afro-American community, the Latino community, Congress, senators, representatives, the economic, trade and energy sectors,” he said.
"We hope one day to have respectful relations with the United States, a dialogue between equals, state-to-state," Maduro said. "Sooner rather than later, the elites running the United States will have to realize there is a new, independent, sovereign and dignified Latin America."
The US State Department responded today to Maduro’s selection, saying it was a “step” towards establishing “effective channels of communication” between the two countries.
Last week Maduro and other members of the Venezuelan government criticised the U.S government for supporting the opposition’s demands of a recount. The US is one of few countries who still hasn’t recognised or congratulated Maduro for winning the 14 April presidential elections.
However, yesterday the US denied it was considering sanctions against Venezuela over the issue, "I'm not aware of any particular effort afoot in terms of sanctions on Venezuela at this point," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told press.
Ventrell made the comment after Venezuela’s foreign minister Elias Jaua said Venezuela would take “economic, political, and diplomatic” actions if the US were to apply any sanctions. This was after Roberto Jacobson, assistant US secretary of state in charge of Latin America reportedly did not respond either way in an interview when asked if the U.S would impose sanctions.
Last month Venezuela broke off “communication channels” with the U.S government, accusing it of interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs ahead of the elections. The Venezuela government claimed that two US embassy officials had been talking to members of the armed forces. The government expelled those officials, and the US retaliated by also expelling two Venezuelan diplomatic officials.
Venezuela and the US have not had ambassadors in each other’s countries since 2010.
Maduro also advised yesterday that he had a phone conversation with Horacio Cartes, the winner of the recent Paraguayan presidential elections. He said he ratified the “willingness of the Venezuelan people to resume relations” with the country, which were broken off after the constitutional coup against Fernando Lugo in 2010.