U.S. Names First Ambassador to Venezuela in Decade
News ID: 85030
Date: 20 November 2020 - 19:47
WASHINGTON (Dispatches) -- The United States has appointed an ambassador to Caracas, who will be following Washington’s stance against the elected government of President Nicolas Maduro.
The U.S. Senate appointed James Story as Washington’s ambassador to Venezuela. This is the first time in ten years that the U.S. is sending an ambassador to Caracas. The two sides have not exchanged ambassadors since 2010 when relations first started to fray under Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez.
Caracas and Washington eventually broke diplomatic ties last year after the Trump administration backed opposition figure Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate president.
The newly appointed U.S. ambassador continued Washington’s hardline approach toward Caracas on Thursday, dashing hopes for a change in the Trump administration’s stance toward the South American country.
In a 30-minute conversation on Facebook Live called ‘Aló, embajador’ (Hello, ambassador), Story expressed his support for Guaido.
"We are going to continue with the pressure and we are going to support the democratic forces and civil society in Venezuela,” he said in the conversation.
Story also called Maduro’s government an "authoritarian regime” and criticized Venezuela’s forthcoming elections in December.
"While there are energy, gasoline, oil production, medicine problems and the lack of a response to the pandemic, this regime wants to commit fraud in the Dec. 6 parliamentary elections,” he claimed.
"We believe in elections. But what kind of elections? We support interim President Juan Guaido, and the international community will not recognize this fraud, and neither will Venezuelans.”
The Trump administration has increased sanctions on Maduro’s government in recent years in an effort to pressure the Venezuelan leader to step down.
But critics say the heavy sanctions have failed to remove Maduro from power and made life harder for people living in Venezuela.
Story had previously led an American virtual embassy while serving as chargé d’affairs for the Venezuela Affairs Unit in Bogota, the capital of Venezuela’s neighbor, Colombia, where he would carry out the job. He said he hopes to return to Caracas to do his job.
The U.S. has imposed harsh economic sanctions on the oil-rich country and confiscated its state oil assets based in the United States, channeling the funds to Guaido.
Maduro, who has repeatedly accused Washington of openly pushing for a coup in the country, blames Washington for an economic war which has led to hyperinflation and widespread shortages of food and medicine in Venezuela.