No smoke without fire? Trump nominates new envoy to Venezuela, first in 10 YEARS after denying US involvement in failed incursion
The White House has tapped a new ambassador to Venezuela, the first in a decade, even as relations with the country’s government hit all-time lows. The appointment comes as the US continues to deny any role in a recent coup plot.
Formerly the interim charge d’affaires of the Venezuela unit based at the US Embassy in Colombia, James Broward Story was nominated to be “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary” to Venezuela on Wednesday, the White House said in a statement.
The move marks the first time the US has had a formal envoy to Venezuela in a decade, and over a year after Washington cut diplomatic ties with the Nicolas Maduro administration, evicting the socialist leader’s personnel from the country’s Washington embassy and handing the facility to opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself the “interim president” of Venezuela in early 2019.
Story’s elevation to ambassador also comes on the heels of repeated denials from US officials, including President Donald Trump, that Washington had any involvement in a failed plot to abduct or even assassinate Maduro, which unfolded last Sunday when a group of armed mercenaries attempted to storm the Venezuelan coast in speed boats. Thwarted by the country’s police and military, two American private security workers – both ex-Green Berets – were arrested after the ill-fated mission, raising questions about what role, if any, Washington might have played.Also on rt.com Delivering Maduro to America was objective of failed Venezuelan incursion – US mercenary says in interrogation tape
The new appointment has only deepened those suspicions, with some suggesting Story is a “fake ambassador” chosen merely to advance American “coup-plotting” from Colombia, where a number of Venezuelan military defectors have fled.
Washington has been open about its desire to remove Maduro from office using whatever means necessary. The Trump administration provided diplomatic and financial support to then-speaker of Venezuela’s parliament, Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president in January last year. The US and its allies declared that Guaido was Venezuela’s legitimate leader, even though his repeated attempts to seize control of the country have failed.
Undeterred, in March the State Department charged Maduro with drug trafficking and offered a $15 million reward for information leading to his arrest. Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza described the indictment as “a new form of coup d’etat” aimed at unseating the democratically-elected government.Also on rt.com Moscow calls US claims it had nothing to do with Venezuela raid 'unconvincing'
The United States has also been ratcheting up sanctions on the South American nation, a policy of economic warfare that has been condemned by human rights rights organizations. Director and activist Oliver Stone recently argued that keeping the sanctions in place during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic reveals the Trump administration’s “profound lack of human decency.”
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