Archive for May 12th, 2008

A country that needs no diplomats

May 12, 2008

On Sunday’s El Nacional, the newspaper had a study showing
that Venezuela’s diplomatic service has become totally unprofessional and no
position since 2005 has been filled considering the credentials, trajectory and
qualifications of the candidates. Instead, Venezuela’s diplomatic corps has
become a way station for former military and Cabinet members who have no role
to play within the Chavez administration but to whom Chavez owes some debt for
services and favors rendered.

Today, former Foreign Minister, President of PDVSA and the
last man to quit the Venezuelan guerrilla Ali Rodriguez said that academic
qualifications and experience are no indicators of the abilities and
capabilities necessary to become a diplomat and do a good job, blasting the

And he is right…

Because no professional diplomat would be able to carry
his job under he guidance of Hugo Chavez. What can anyone trained in the art
and science of diplomacy say to his or her host country after Chavez managed
yesterday to blast Colombian President Uribe, King Juan Carlos of Spain and
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. This without his usual potshots at
George Bush and the US Government.

But Chavez managed to blast Alvaro Uribe, calling him a
liar, dangerous and irresponsible, because of his Government’s release of new documents
found in the computers at the guerilla camp in Ecuador attacked by the
Colombian Government. This is the same man that Chavez made peace with at the
Dominican Republic less than two months ago after distancing themselves when
Uribe stopped Chavez negotiating with the guerrilla group FARC. Just to make sure his diplomatic message
was understood, Chavez said Colombia was trying to incite a continental war,
prodded by the US Government.

Not that Uribe had not noticed that something was amiss in
the to country’s diplomatic relations, as Foreign Minister Maduro, who is a bus
driver by training, had failed to name a new Venezuelan Ambassador to Colombia
since the supposed “rapprochement” of President Chavez and Uribe.

I guess if there is no Ambassador, there is no training
needed, but once again Chavez send relations between the two countries into a
black hole that is simply unnecessary, unless you are afraid of the conclusion
s reached by Interpol on the content of Raul Reyes’ computer next Thursday and
are simply preparing the way to deny the undeniable.

It would be equally difficult for any diplomat to try to
defend Chavez’ charge that Germany’s Chancellor Merkel represents the same
right wing that supported Hitler and fascism, suggesting he may confront her at
the upcoming summit and even telling her she would send her to…except that she
is a woman. Merkel’s crime was simply to dare say that Hugo Chavez does not
speak for Latin America. Chavez’ words could not have been more undiplomatic,
as anyone with the most basic knowledge of Germany’s history would realize how
sensitive Germans are to that period of their history. Which German diplomats
replied to reiterating that Chavez does not represent Latin America.

And maybe because Chavez previews the damage
which will be created by the upcoming Interpol report, Chavez took advantage to
take a shot
at Spanish King Juan Carlos, reminding everyone of the episode in
which the King told Chavez to shut up, saying the King believes he is superior
and does not understand what is going on in Latin America. This elicited an
immediate response from Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero who sent Chavez a clear
message that reminded the Venezuelan President that he has to respect Spanish
institutions as part of the relations between the two countries.

And there were reactions elsewhere, as both
Peru’s President Alan Garcia and Mexico’s Felipe Calderon felt the need to
intervene defending Colombia and Merkel and pointing out that such negative statements by
Chavez do nothing but impede integration. Calderon even noted Merkel’s
origin’s, which sent a clear message to the Venezuelan President that he had no
clue about what he was talking about when he referred to Merkel as fascist or a
follower of Hitler.

Thus, Venezuela truly does not require professional
diplomats who would be incapable of defending the country and its President.
Thus, Chavez has fewer and fewer friends as a consequence of his own irresponsible
and idiotic words, which have increased isolated him from the international

However, one cannot help but be concerned by the ever-increasing
strident and irresponsible tone by Hugo Chavez. Is he getting ready to distance
himself from the world when Interpol ratifies what we already know about his
relationship with guerrilla group FARC? Or is he one step ahead preparing himself
to be isolated as the final days of the Enabling Bill arrive and he issues a hemorrhage
of decrees legislating what Venezuelan rejected in the December referendum?

In either case, stormy days are ahead for Venezuela both
internally and internationally and there is noting any trained and professional
diplomat could have done to stop it.