CARACAS - Venezuela has proposed Maximilien Sanchez Arvelaiz as Ambassador to the USA, the country's information ministry said via twitter.
Sanchez Arvelaiz is the former Venezuelan ambassador to Brazil.
"President Nicolas Maduro is sending a clear message to President Obama and the world that we are very willing to establish diplomatic relations at the highest level that will contribute to peace in Venezuela," said Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua, in language that seems to try to blame the protests that have racked the Latin American country for weeks on the USA.
Sanchez Arvelaiz was appointed as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the Federative Republic of Brazil, according to the Resolution of the National Assembly published in Official Gazette No. 39,379 of Thursday, March 4, 2010. He presented his credentials to the Brazilian Foreign Ministry on April 13, 2010 and to President Lula on 19 July 2010.
Prior to that, he was Director General of the International Relations Office of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and had served as Deputy Chief of Mission of Venezuela to the Brazil between August 2007 and January 2008.
Between May and September 2006, he was Deputy Chief of Mission of Venezuela to the United Nations in New York.
Sanchez Arvelaiz holds an MA in Latin American Political Science from the Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of London where his thesis was "Utopia ReAssembled: Chavez and the Venezuelan Left." He holds a Bachelor of Public International Law degree from the Universite Pantheon Assas in Paris. He also studied film at South Thames College in London.
Despite the fact that the US is the largest customer for Venezuela oil and Venezuela is the fifth largest supplier of oil to the US, the two countries have not had ambassadors in each others countries since former Venezuela President Hugo Chavez expelled US Ambassador Patrick Duddy in 2008 in "solidarity with Bolivia" and failed to approve his nominated successor in 2010.
The US reciprocated by expelling Venezuela Ambassador to the US Bernardo Alvarez after Chavez publicly said that Venezuela would reject the newly designated US Ambassador Larry Palmer in late December 2010.
Earlier today, the US expelled "First Secretary Ignacio Luis Cajal Avalos, First Secretary Victor Manuel Pisani Azpurua, and Second Secrtary Marcos Joe Garcia Figueredo of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C.", according to the US State Department.
Those expulsions follow the US government's tit-for-tat strategy for dealing with Venezuela after Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro expelled three U.S. diplomats -- US Vice Consuls Breeann Marie McCusker, Jeffrey Elsen Gordon and Clark Christopher Lee -- from Venezuela on February 16.
In October, Maduro announced the expulsion of 3 US diplomats during a live speech to Venezuela soldiers commemorating 200 years since the day when Atanasio Girardot died fighting for Venezuela's independence. At that time, Maduro accused US diplomats Kelly Keiderling, who was the charge d'affaires and the top US diplomat in the country, Elizabeth Hoffman and David Moo of meeting with the country's "right wing" to plan economic and electricital system sabotage.
As a result of the October expulsion by Venezuela, the United States threw out the charge d’affaires at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington and two other diplomats from the Andean nation. Charge d’affaires Calixto Ortega, embassy Second Secretary Monica Alejandra Sanchez Morales and Consul Marisol Gutierrez de Almeida, stationed at the Venezuelan Consulate in Houston, were given 48 hours to leave the country.
"I can confirm that in response to the Venezuelan Government’s decision to declare three of our Embassy Caracas officials as personae non gratae, including our charge, that we informed the Venezuelan charge d’affaires on October 1st that in accordance with Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and Article 23 of the Vienna Convention on consular relations, we have declared him – so that’s the charge, the second secretary, and one of their consuls personae non gratae – we told them this last night, and they have been allowed 48 hours to leave the United States," said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf at the time. "We’ve said for a long time, in terms of the broader relationship, that we want a functional and constructive relationship with Venezuela. We are certainly still committed to that, and we’ll continue working with the Venezuelans on this – on these issues that feed into our relationship."
“It is regrettable that the Venezuelan government has again decided to expel U.S. diplomatic officials based on groundless allegations, which require reciprocal action,” the State Department said.
Venezuela has been plagued by electricity shortages as well as widespread shortages of water, toilet paper, flour, bread and basic foodstuffs despite having the largest known oil reserves in the world. Inflation is officially running at over 56% and the currency, the bolivar, continues to be essentially unconvertible except in the black market where it has lost three-quarters of its value in one year.
Venezuela-watchers point out that Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, who died in March, often blame the US "imperialist gringos" for the country's problems, despite being in power for over 15 years.
At the time, the leader of the Opposition, Miranda Governor Henrique Capriles Radonski, tweeted that "Nobody believes the alerts from Miraflores. Pure smoke to cover that he cannot run the country! Maduro has no plan for the country and does not know how to solve the problems facing our people!"
Capriles narrowly lost a controversial and disputed special election to Maduro in April in the wake of the death of Chavez.
On March 5, Venezuela also ejected two U.S. military attaches on similar allegations. That move came several hours before Maduro announced that longtime President Hugo Chavez had died of cancer.