U.S.-Venezuela Ambassadorial Relations Progress by ProQuest


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									     COUNCIL ON HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS                                                                  www.coha.org                              5
    Cuba Issue / Continued from page 4. the desire and conditions for change are in the                 abandoning his slow and familiar rumba and
diplomacy and steer away from routine and            air, hope remains. But with the window of op-      preparing for the up-tempo salsa if he means
formulaic policies. If he does this by taking the    portunity potentially closing while he casts       to get the job done.
necessary transformational strides while both        his eyes elsewhere, Obama would do well by            Research Associate Felipe Matsunaga

                        U.S.-Venezuela Ambassadorial Relations Progress
    On June 26, 2009, almost a year after U.S.       racas. The Bush administration responded in        economic clout in the region. Projects such as
Ambassador Patrick Duddy was ordered to              kind by expelling both Venezuela’s and Boliv-      the Bank of the South, Telesur and the Boli-
leave Caracas, the Chávez and Obama ad-              ia’s ambassadors from Washington. More than        varian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA),
ministrations were able to come to an agree-         eight months and one presidential administra-      among other economic initiatives, have had a
ment that allowed Duddy and his Venezuelan           tion later, a renewal                                                         far-reaching impact
counterpart Ambassador Bernardo Álvarez, to          of dialogue between                                                           in Latin America.
return to their posts. Late last year, as a result   Venezuela and the                                                             These various alli-
of growing tensions between Venezuela and            U.S. has brought                                                              ances, often created
the United States, both nations withdrew their       about the settle-                                                             through Venezu-
ambassadors. Unable to resolve the dispute           ment of the dispute                                                           elan-funded proj-
before his departure from the White House,           and the full restora-                                                         ects, are continu-
President George W. Bush left it for Obama           tion of diplomatic                                                            ously increasing in
to handle. Venezuelan Foreign Relations Min-         relations, with both                                                          size and scope as
ister Nicolas Maduro spoke to U.S. Assistant         countries commit-                                                             new ones develop
Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Af-        ting themselves to                                                            and come to the
fairs Thomas Shannon on June 23 in regards to        engage each other                                                             fore. As these initia-
restoring both diplomats as soon as possible.        in a constructive                                                             tives gain momen-
By June 26, Alvarez was preparing to return to       manner.                                                                       tum,      Venezuela,
Washington as Venezuela’s legate. Duddy, too,                                                                                      through Chávez’s
                                                     Profile of Construc-
was back in Caracas on behalf of the United                                                                                        activism, cements
                                                     tive U.S-Venezuela
States, by the end of June.                                                                                                        its regional leader-
                                                     Relations                                                                     ship. Even the sharp
Initial Dispute                                         A robust relation-
     The contention between Venezuela and                                                                                          decline in oil prices
                                                     ship between Cara-                                                            and the shrinkage
the United States began in September 2008,
                                                     cas and Washington                                                            of Venezuela’s avail-
but it was not due to any direct confrontation
                                                     is vital for the Obama administration if it ear-   able funding, which have cut the volume of
between the two countries. Rather, it was trig-
                                                     nestly seeks to improve the United States’ in-     financing from Caracas, have failed to signifi-
gered by an incident involving Bolivia and the
                                                     jured ties with Latin America. In recent years,    cantly curtail the spread of Chávez’s influence
U.S. Ambassador to La Paz, Philip Goldberg.
                                                     Venezuela, along with Cuba, has had a history      and ideology.
Bolivian president Evo Morales accused Gold-
                                                     of tumultuous encounters with the United
berg of attempting to overthrow his administra-                                                         Importance of Oil
                                                     States. In order to create stronger bonds with
tion, with Washington’s backing, and ordered                                                              U.S. dependence on Venezuelan oil reinforc-
                                                     the region, Obama has decided to display a
him out of the country before he could pose a                                                           es the necessity of maintaining a functioning
                                                     new willingness to wor
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