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With “Zero Tolerance to Gringo Aggression,” Maduro Cuts Off Venezuela-U.S. Talks

Caracas, July 21st 2013 ( – The conversations that were started a month and a half ago between Venezuela and the United States have definitively ended, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced yesterday at an event of the Strategic Regions of Integral Defense (REDI) in Cojedes state.

“My policy is zero tolerance to gringo aggression against Venezuela. I'm not going to accept any aggression, whether it be verbal, political, or diplomatic. Enough is enough. Stay over there with your empire, don't involve yourselves anymore in Venezuela,” he said.

The announcement comes after controversial statements from Samantha Powers, President Barack Obama’s nominee for U.S. envoy to the United Nations, who testified to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Wednesday that she would fight against what she called a “crackdown on civil society being carried out in countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela.”

In a statement written on Friday that marks the last communication between the two countries, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua wrote, “The preoccupation expressed by the U.S. government regarding the supposed repression of civil society in Venezuela is unacceptable and unfounded. To the contrary, Venezuela has amply demonstrated that it possesses a robust system of constitutional guarantees to preserve the unrestricted practice and the respect of fundamental human rights, as the UN has recognized on multiple occasions.”

Jaua spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry in a meeting in Guatemala last month that Kerry described as the “beginning of a good, respectful relationship.”

However, relations cooled after Bolivian President Evo Morales’ presidential plane was prevented from entering the airspace of four European countries following false information that U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board, and Maduro’s subsequent offer of political asylum to Snowden.

“I told Jaua to convey to Kerry [in June] that we are ready to have relations within the framework of equality and respect,” Maduro said yesterday. “If they respect us, we respect them. But the time has run out for them to meddle in the internal affairs of our countries and publically attack us. Their time has run out, in general in Latin America, and in particular with us.”

Neither country has had an ambassador in the other nation since 2010, when late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez refused the entrance of newly-appointed US Ambassador to Venezuela Larry Palmer for “blatantly disrespectful” remarks, and Venezuelan Ambassador to the US Bernardo Alvarez was expelled from the country several days later. 

Published on Jul 21st 2013 at 8.32pm