Today in Latin America
Top Story — The United States and Venezuela have pulled the ambassadors from their embassies once again.
The latest diplomatic spat began after the Obama administration’s choice for a new ambassador to Caracas, Larry Palmer, made comments that angered Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
In particular, Palmer said that the Venezuelan military’s morale is low and that he was concerned that the FARC — a Colombian guerrilla army — may be finding refuge in Venezuela, according to The Associated Press.
The Obama administration responded by dismissing Venezuelan ambassador to the U.S. Bernardo Álvarez Herrera on Wednesday.
Chávez has said since at least August that he would not accept Palmer as ambassador.
This is the second time in recent years that the U.S. and Venezuela have forgone ambassadors. In Sept. 2008, the Venezuelan government expelled its U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy as a means of siding with Bolivian President Evo Morales, who had expelled his country’s ambassador under accusations of supporting the political opposition. The Obama administration restored regular diplomatic relations with Venezuela in the summer of 2009.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A shootout in the northern Mexican state of Durango left two bystanders, a federal agent and two drug cartel suspects dead.
- A hotel that caters exclusively to gay men will open in January in Mexico’s Riviera Maya.
- A Nebraska state senator plans to to introduce a bill similar to Arizona’s controversial immigration bill when the senate resumes session next Wednesday.
- The Cuban government will cut soap and other hygiene products from the public’s ration cards beginning in January.
- The Christian Science Monitor profiles Jerry Rosembert, a graffiti artist who uses his work to push for social change in Haiti.
- U.S. citizen Paul Waggoner was released from jail in Haiti after a judge declined to bring kidnapping charges against him, his aid organization said Wednesday.
- Men claiming to belong to the Zetas drug drug gang forced radio stations to broadcast a threat of war in a northern Guatemalan province where the government declared a state of siege last week.
- Mexico and Honduras announced Wednesday they have agreed to create a high-level group to combat attacks on undocumented Honduran.
- A former Nicaraguan vice president said Wednesday the Sandinista movement received crucial financial aid to oust a dictator from Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Pérez, who died Saturday.
- Ending a years-long manhunt, troops in Colombia found the corpse of Pedro “the Knife” Guerrero, one of the country’s top right-wing paramilitary leaders and drug traffickers, according ti President Juan Manuel Santos.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez confirmed handing over Colombian rebel Nilson Teran and vowed his government “will not permit the incursion of any subversive Colombian element.”
- Ecuador plans to bring online a $500 million hydroelectric plant in the southern Andes, which is billed as a partial solution to a domestic electricity shortfall.
- 69.2 percent of the Brazilian public supports incoming President Dilma Rousseff, who will be sworn in on January 1.
- The Argentine Air Force created a commission to record and investigate reports of unidentified flying objects (UFO) in the country’s air space.
- Marcelo Bielsa will coach Chile’s national soccer team during the country’s January friendly against the United States, despite announcing his resignation last month.
Image: Que Comunismo! @ Flickr.