Venezuelan Presdient Nicolás Maduro announced yesterday the recall of Maximilien Alvelaiz, Chargé d’Affaires of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, in response to a renewal of United States Executive Order (EO) 13692, which called Venezuela an “unusual and extraordinary threat to national security.”
The move comes after the release of a letter from the White House on 4th March 2016 announcing that the duration of the EO would extend past 6th March 2016, the original expiry date, citing a lack of improvement in the situation in Venezuela.
The letter highlighted, specifically, continued human rights violations and abuses, persecution of political opponents, and significant government corruption.
The order includes sanctions for at least seven top Venezuelan officials, who are unable to enter the US or conduct business with US citizens.
The US State Department has not officially responded to the recall as they have not, according to US media, received an official notification from the Venezuelan government of the diplomat’s recall. “We continue to have diplomatic relations with Venezuela and remain willing to engage with all sectors of Venezuela,” a state department official told CNN.
Alvelaiz is currently the highest ranking Venezuelan diplomat to the United States, as the two countries have not had ambassador-level diplomatic relations since 2010.
During yesterday’s announcement ceremony in Caracas, President Maduro called for the mobilisation of the Venezuelan people to oppose the decree, labelling it part of a long “history of US imperialist treats against Venezuela.”
“Enough arrogance, double standards, condescension, and intrigue. Bolivar’s Venezuela deserves respect,” he said in his speech, which also quoted Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
While continued diplomatic tensions with the United States has led some government officials to fear a US-backed coup, President Maduro’s government continues to receive support from Latin America.
In a special communiqué released on 8th March 2016 by the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People’s Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) – an organisation that promotes solidarity and cooperation between Latin American countries, of which Venezuela is a member – the group voiced their support for President Maduro as the legitimate leader of the country, calling the renewal “part of the aggressions and unconventional war against the homeland of Simon Bolivar.”
“Venezuela is not the country that bombards defenseless peoples,” the communiqué continued. “Venezuela is not the country that financially suffocates the nations that do not comply with its plans, Venezuela is not the country that denies entry to war refugees. There is not any form in which Venezuela and its government could be qualified as a threat, and much less by the most powerful empire that human history has ever known.”
The renewal means the EO will be in place for another year, until March 2017.