The U.S. State Department plans to appoint a new leader to the U.S. embassy in Venezuela amid increasing tensions with the beleaguered South American nation.
Todd D. Robinson, the former U.S. ambassador to Guatemala, has been chosen to lead the embassy in Caracas, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, told the Miami Herald.
The decision comes at a critical time for U.S. relations with Venezuela. The Trump Administration has sanctioned dozens of Venezuelans in recent months, including President Nicolás Maduro, whom Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has labeled a “dictator.” In August, the U.S. also imposed economic sanctions against Venezuela, banning debt trades for bonds issued by the government and its state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela SA.
Ros-Lehtinen expressed confidence in Robinson’s ability to represent U.S. interests in Venezuela. “He’s for freedom, democracy, the rule of law, separation of powers. He gets it,” Ros-Lehtinen said on Tuesday shortly after meeting with Robinson. “We told him, ‘Sanction more people, that’s the best thing that we can do. Get those thugs to not be able to come to the U.S.’”
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