UPDATE!! In what can only be interpreted as further marks of Chavez weakening position we got today one significant development and another one, possibly major.
As expected, Larry Palmer will not be ambassador in Caracas and thus the US Senate will not need to vote on his confirmation next September. Chavez simply said today that he woudl not receive Palmer "He disqualified himself by breaking all the rules of diplomacy. He messed with all of us. He can't come here." Of course, Chavez NEVER breaks any of the rules of diplomacy and if he breaks them, well, he is El supremo so tough luck!
Unfortunately for Chavez this is yet another case of shoot the messenger, while the message still remains pretty much alive, at the Colombia border, inside the army barracks, at the currency exchange trading, etc, etc.... Palmer will not come but what he said remains very present. You know something, if you ask me, I am pretty sure someone in the US does not want the US to have an ambassador in Caracas for the time being.
Somewhat less predictable was the announcement today, in the first full day of Santos term, that Chavez will go to Bogota in a couple of days to meet him for talks and try to restore relations. Apparently he asked the FARC to reconsider their resistance, pretending of course to demonstrate that he does not support them even if all evidence in 10 years proves otherwise. Of course, what is going on is that Chavez is profoundly isolated in Latin America as to his break up with Colombia as not even his buddy pals at UNASUR were willing to pretend to believe his words (his main enabler, Lula, is too busy running the election of his appointed successor Dilma Roussef to risk Chavez becoming an issue in the Brazilian campaign).
Thus Chavez in an increasingly rare moment of reality decided to swallow hard and take the road to Damascus-on-Tequendama. Not bad if you ask me as he can make the dumb believe that it was all the fault of mean Uribe, fortunately now gone for good. But the smart set will see it clearly as a mark of defeat, going to Bogota "a pedir cacao" (to cry uncle, or some expression like that)
Special note: Koolaid drinking BBC correspondents in Caracas.
In their note about the rejection of Palmer by Chavez the BBC mundo gets out of its way to mention that the National Assembly voted against Palmer of course but that also the Frente Humanista group voted. Now, if you pay attention to the way the article is written you would be forgiven to believe that the opposition and chavismo have united against what would be once again a naked intervention of the US in Venezuela internal matters, and thus questioning the veracity of Colombia's accusations.
This is either deliberate misinformation or lack of home work in reading local papers and talking to opposition politicians, or even both. To begin with, whatever Palmer said at his confirmation hearings about Venezuela is read regularly in the front pages of major newspapers. Nobody questions that, nobody believes Chavez on his denial of the FARC presence, not even his hard core who actually welcomes that presence. Second, the opposition is not going to waste time discussing this issue. They have better things to do in the campaign trail than discuss the imaginary war with Colombia or Palmer words who all know are true, even the Frente Humanista. Third "Frente Humanista" is a dissident chavista group that consists of a couple of representatives in the National Assembly and certainly under no circumstances could their vote be interpreted as supporting rejection of Colombia, Palmer and what not. Since they share the knee jerk anti US feel of chavismo even in dissidence they cannot miss an opportunity to hit the US in the hope that it might convince enough chavista to vote for them next September.
But if we go to the BBC main page, in English this time, the upcoming trip of Chavez to Bogota is described as top news, above such things like the Pakistan disaster. You go to the article and sure enough there is an "analysis" of Will Grant included in the article. He writes, I kid you not, "The move marks a remarkable turnaround, coming just weeks after Mr Chavez had been talking of the possibility of war with his neighbour."
Certainly Chavez's turnaround is remarkable but it is even more remarkable that Grant took the war with Colombia seriously! And I will pass on interesting omissions of that article.
Clearly, Mr. Grant hangs around too many hysterical chavista to forage for his news. It is time for the BBC to replace him for a better informed journalist. I am not talking "objective" here, a just plain "informed" one would be nice.
Courtesy of URRU one of the multiple Youtube examples of the way that Chavez insulted Santos copiously during the campaign. Including the threat that he would never sit down with Santos. For the record, you know, before Chavez takes off got Bogota on Tuesday. Maybe Will Grant missed that one?