Venezuela: 'Zero tolerance to gringo aggression' — Maduro ends US talks

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Juau (left) with president Nicolas Maduro.

The conversations started in June between Venezuela and the United States have definitively ended, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on July 20 at an event of the Strategic Regions of Integral Defense (REDI) in Cojedes state.

“My policy is zero tolerance to gringo aggression against Venezuela,” Maduro said. “I'm not going to accept any aggression, whether it be verbal, political, or diplomatic.

“Enough is enough. Stay over there with your empire, don't involve yourselves anymore in Venezuela.”

The announcement comes after controversial statements from Samantha Powers, President Barack Obama’s nominee for US envoy to the United Nations. Powers testified to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on July 17, during which she said she would fight against a “crackdown on civil society being carried out in countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela”.

In a statement written on July 19 that marks the last communication between the two countries, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua wrote: “The preoccupation expressed by the US government regarding the supposed repression of civil society in Venezuela is unacceptable and unfounded.

“To the contrary, Venezuela has amply demonstrated that it possesses a robust system of constitutional guarantees to preserve the unrestricted practice and the respect of fundamental human rights, as the UN has recognised on multiple occasions.”

Jaua spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry in a meeting in Guatemala in June that Kerry described as the “beginning of a good, respectful relationship”.

However, relations cooled after Bolivian President Evo Morales’ presidential plane was prevented from entering the airspace of four European countries after false information that US whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board. It further cooled with Maduro’s offer of political asylum to Snowden.

Maduro said: “I told Jaua to convey to Kerry [in June] that we are ready to have relations within the framework of equality and respect. If they respect us, we respect them.

“But the time has run out for them to meddle in the internal affairs of our countries and publically attack us. Their time has run out, in Latin America in general and in particular with us.”

Neither country has had an ambassador in the other nation since 2010, when late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez blocked newly-appointed US Ambassador to Venezuela Larry Palmer for “blatantly disrespectful” remarks, and Venezuelan Ambassador to the US Bernardo Alvarez was expelled several days later.

[Reprinted from .]