TIME Venezuela

Venezuela Summons Top Diplomat In U.S. Back to Caracas

Maximilien Arvelaiz, Venezuela's top diplomat in Washington, who has been proposed as ambassador, speaks during an interview with Reuters at a hotel in Caracas
Reuters Maximilien Arvelaiz, Venezuela's top diplomat in Washington, who has been proposed as ambassador, speaks during an interview with Reuters at a hotel in Caracas, Venezuela, Dec. 7, 2015.

The U.S. and Venezuela have had rocky diplomatic ties for years

Venezuela withdrew its most senior diplomat in the U.S. on Wednesday following President Obama’s renewal of sanctions against officials in the South American nation.

Maximilien Arvelaiz, Venezuela’s charge d’affaires in Washington, returns to Caracas after spending months waiting to serve as Venezuela’s ambassador to the U.S., Reuters reported. Washington and Caracas cut ambassadorial ties in 2010; last year, the U.S. described Venezuela as a security threat.

“Sometimes I feel I’m in a plane and every five minutes I need to put my seatbelt on because of the turbulence,” Arvelaiz told Reuters in an earlier interview.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro appears to have little intention of stabilizing that metaphorical airplane. Maduro, who took power in 2013 after the death of the controversial leader Hugo Chavez, has accused Washington of attempting to topple his government.

“Enough of the arrogance, prepotency and intrigue,” Maduro said on state television, according to Reuters.

[Reuters]

 

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