The Venezuelan socialist government is attempting to sidle up to the United States and potentially reopen trade negotiations, according to one report. The United States will be sending Lee McClenny, currently the deputy chief of Mission of America’s embassy in Malaysia, to Caracas to reintroduce talks.
Infobae reports that McClenny will be the highest-ranking United States official in Venezuela since the expulsion of American diplomats from the nation in 2010. The State Department also confirmed that Maximilien Sánchez Arveláiz, a Venezuelan diplomat already in Washington, D.C., for work with the Organization of American States, will move to working as a diplomat directly with the United States and will be the highest-ranking diplomat from Venezuela since 2010 to work on bilateral relations.
Upon sending Arveláiz to Washington, D.C., President Nicolás Maduro said Arveláiz was charged with telling the Organization of American States the “truth” about Venezuela, which would serve to divert attention from the widespread human rights violations of the Maduro regime, as María Corina Machado, a congresswoman ousted from her position and attacked with tear gas for supporting the anti-socialist opposition, testified.
Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement of the trade that “the difficulties and disagreements in our official relations of the past years do not change the United States’ commitment to the Venezuelan people.”
The Venezuelan government, meanwhile, has incensed relations with the United States so much that President Maduro has falsely accused United States Ambassador to Colombia Kevin Whitaker of being involved in a conspiracy to murder him.
The topics on which the two governments will negotiate are not yet clear. Private American industry seems little interested in investing in Venezuela; airlines, particularly, to which the Venezuelan government owes millions, are beginning to cancel flights to Caracas. Conglomerates like Coca-Cola and Clorox have lost millions in investments in Latin America due to the mismanagement of the Venezuelan government alone.
Americans of conscience are also individually demanding not expanded trade but sanctions on Venezuela. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, whose constituency is largely made up of Venezuelan exiles, described it as “shameful” that the United States has yet to sanction that nation for its crackdowns on protests, beatings, tortures, and murders of student protesters. This week, dozens of Venezuelans in Miami organized a peaceful protest against their homeland’s regime, silently placing crosses in the grass before a Venezuelan restaurant to commemorate the young who have died in protests against the government.