Today in Latin America
Top Story — With uncertainty looming over Larry Palmer’s nomination as ambassador to Venezuela, on Tuesday Hugo Chávez jokingly suggested a number of people that he would prefer to to fill the slot — former President Bill Clinton, author Noam Chomsky, actor Sean Penn and director Oliver Stone.
Both Stone and Penn have visited Venezuela and are known to admire the Venezuelan president.
“We appreciate President Chávez’ suggestions but the fact is we are not looking for another candidate to be the U.S. ambassador to Caracas,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said, according to Reuters. “There have been suggestions, particularly suggestions by President Chávez, that we are looking for another candidate and the answer is that we’re not looking for another candidate.”
Chávez rejected Palmer’s nomination after Palmer said in his Senate confirmation hearing that Venzuela harbored leftist guerrillas from Colombia and that the Venezuelan military was under Cuban influence and suffered from low morale.
Due to those comments, Chávez said he would “veto” Palmer’s appointment and late last year Venezuela withdrew diplomatic approval for Palmer. The Obama administration then revoked the U.S. visa for Bernardo Álvarez, the Venezuelan ambassador to Washington.
The United States said Wednesday it stood by Larry Palmer as its choice for ambassador to Venezuela despite being rejected by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. But Palmer’s nomination expired at the end of last month, and Crowley would not confirm that the Obama administration would renominate him.
In the midst of the conflict over the Palmer nomination, Republican Congressman Connie Mack (R-FL) told The Associated Press Thursday he would make it one of his goals as head of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere to get Venezuela included on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. The list currently includes the four countries of Cuba, Syria, Iran and Sudan.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Contributor Romeo Guzman recounts the celebrations of the birth of the Virgen de Guadalupe last month in New York City.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexico’s deputy transport minister said Thursday that a U.S proposal to allow Mexican long-haul trucks to move cargo on U.S. roads was a positive step in resolving the trade dispute between the two countries.
- Kentucky lawmakers advanced a bill Thursday that would give police broad authority to check the immigration status of people they stop.
- The United States and Cuba will meet for migration talks next week, but U.S. officials said they do not expect significant results due in part to the running conflict over the detention of contractor Alan Gross.
- The Dominican Republic has launched its first major crackdown on undocumented Haitian immigrants since the Jan. 12 earthquake, rounding up and deporting hundreds over the last few days.
- Head of the U.N. Ban Ki-moon named four experts to investigate the origin of Haiti’s cholera epidemic, which some blame on U.N. peacekeepers.
- Actor Sean Penn says he will stay in Haiti, whenever he’s not working, for the rest of his life.
- Guatemalan society is closely following news about a bomb attack in that country amid outrage, distress, and impotence at the situation of violence.
- The U.S. has decided against renewing a $215 million aid program for farming and infrastructure in Honduras, a decision the government of President Porfirio Lobo said it lamented.
- Honduras’ assistant security minister says nine of the 10 killings of journalists that have occurred this year were unrelated to the media workers’ jobs.
- A convicted drug trafficker who has been in and out of prison was recaptured by Venezuelan authorities after a shootout with police on Wednesday night.
- The Colombian unit of Mexican wireless giant America Movil SAB has canceled plans to give away puppies as part of a subscriber promotion following complaints by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, the advocacy group said Thursday.
- Bolivia is offering new perks to oil prospecting firms to speed the momentum of operations aimed at finding substantial hydrocarbon reserves.
- Argentina announced Thursday that it will pay the $1.26 billion it owes to Venezuela for fuel it purchased over the last decade.
- Brazil’s national association of doctors approved new rules for in vitro fertilization that allow same-sex couples and single people qualify for the process.
- Rescued Chilean miner and Elvis Presley fan, Edison Peña, will visit Graceland and Sun Recording Studio in Memphis, Tennesee.
Image: Wiki Commons.