Friday, January 7, 2011

The Larry Palmer Saga

It's the story that doesn't seem to want to end. Back in August, President Obama nominated Larry Palmer to be the US ambassador to Caracas.

During Palmer's Senate confirmation hearings, he got put in between a rock and a hard place. To secure his nomination he needed to talk a little tough on Hugo Chavez (nothing wins political points like bashing Chavez, after all). So in response to questions from Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), Palmer noted that there was dissatisfaction among the Venezuelan military and that Colombian guerrilla movements operated out of Venezuela.

It didn't come as too much of a surprise then that Chavez refused to accept Palmer, saying, "How can you think I'd accept this gentleman coming here?...You'd best withdraw him, Obama. Don't insist, I'm asking you."

Obama (well, State) did insist. And so did Chavez. In return, the US revoked the visa of Venezuela Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez.

And then Palmer's nomination expired and it seemed like the US was ready to move on. But then State decided to stick to its guns (after pressure to not let Chavez dictate anything), and said they still wanted Palmer to head to Caracas.

Chavez has his favorites for the job: Oliver Stone, Sean Penn, Noam Chomsky or Bill Clinton. (Bill Clinton?)

Never one to miss an opportunity for a joke, Chavez mentioned his recent meeting with Hillary Clinton at the inauguration of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff: "I said to Mrs. Clinton 'How is your husband?' But I was wrong because I speak very bad English and I said ‘How is your wife?’"

And still no ambassadors in Washington or Caracas.

Image Source: New York Magazine
Online Sources: AFP, Google News, Wall St. Journal, El Universal, Washington Post, Americas Quarterly

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The upcoming return of The Latin Americanist

As you may have noticed there has been an unfortunate absence of posting on this blog for the past three weeks. I made the terrible miscalculation of assuming that I would have regular access to the Internet during my family vacation to Colombia. Yet for a number reasons (which I won't get into) today is the first time since mid-December since I've been more than a few minutes online! Worse was my absent-minded decision not to seek a guest blogger for my time abroad.

ln short, I screwed up big time and I want to fully apologize to you, our readers, for my mistakes.

I'll return with "Daily Headlines", "Today's Video" and our usual mix of posts next Tuesday, January 11th. Don't forget that you can still vote in the top news stories of 2010 poll, which will close on Monday the 10th.

Thanks for your time, feedback, and loyalty since this blog was founded over five years ago.

Happy New Year everyone!