Venezuela withdraws top diplomat from Washington

The move was a response to Obama's renewal of sanctions on seven Venezuelan officials, whom he accused of human rights violations and public corruption.

AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos, File
In this March 19, 2015 file photo, supporters of President Nicolas Maduro signed a petition asking the U.S. to end sanctions against Venezuelan officials accused of violating human rights, and denouncing U.S. aggression, in downtown Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro planned to give the petition to President Barack Obama at a regional summit the next month.

President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday announced that Venezuela's top diplomat in Washington would be called back to Caracas to protest President Barack Obama's decision to renew a decree imposing sanctions on several top officials from the South American country.

The two nations haven't exchanged ambassadors since 2010 and Maximilien Sanchez Arvelaiz had been Venezuela's acting charge d'affaires in the U.S. capital.

"We don't accept impositions or aggressions," Maduro said in a televised address announcing that Sanchez Arvelaiz was being recalled. "Enough of the arrogance."

In March of 2015, Obama slapped sanctions on seven Venezuelan officials, accusing them of perpetrating human rights violations and public corruption in the socialist-governed country. The individuals all came from the top echelon of the state security apparatus that was responsible for cracking down on anti-government protests that rocked Venezuela in 2104 and for pursuing charges against leading opponents.

The sanctions come after the U.S. Congress passed legislation authorizing penalties that would freeze the assets and ban visas for anyone accused of carrying out acts of violence or violating the human rights of those opposing Venezuela's government.

On Wednesday, Venezuelan officials said that Obama had sent a letter to leaders of the U.S. legislatures saying the sanctions would be renewed because the situation in Venezuela had not improved.

Maduro said the renewal "is a stain for Obama because he had plenty of opportunities to rectify the situation but imposed arrogance."

The countries have had stormy relations since the late Hugo Chavez became president of Venezuela in 1999

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.