Maximilian Sánchez Arveláez was appointed Monday as Venezuela’s ambassador to the United States, as part of President Nicolás Maduro’s expressed desire to enhance the Venezuelan Embassy’s “capacity of dialogue with U.S. society.”
The one-sentence announcement was made in a Twitter message issued by the Foreign Ministry.
Venezuela and the U.S. have not maintained full ambassadorial relations since 2010.
Washington did not seem receptive to the idea of exchanging ambassadors at this time. At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said that “Maduro needs to focus on responding to the legitimate grievances of the Venezuelan people, not in dialogue with the United States.”
At the U.S. State Department, spokeswoman Jan Psaki said that the United States “would be open to an exchange of ambassadors, but Venezuela needs to show seriousness about their willingness and their openness to a positive relationship moving forward. […]
“We have indicated for months our openness to develop a more constructive relationship with Venezuela, but recent actions, including expelling three of our diplomats [on Feb. 17], continue to make that difficult.”
In fact, the State Department on Monday reciprocated by expelling three Venezuelan diplomats currently at their embassy in Washington: first secretaries Ignacio Luis Cajal Avalos and Victor Manuel Pisani Azpurua, and second secretary Marcos José García Figueredo.
They were given 48 hours to leave the United States.
Maximilian Sánchez Arveláez, 41, was Venezuela’s ambassador to Brazil from March 2010 to June 2013, when he was named Presidential Commissioner for International Affairs. Jaua described him as someone “trusted by his president” and with “experience in the diplomatic area.”
Born in France, Sánchez Arveláez studied international law and Latin American political science at universities in Paris and London, before moving to Caracas in 2001. From May to September 2006, he was an adviser to the Venezuelan Mission to the United Nations. From there, he went to Brazil as an adviser to the Venezuelan Embassy, 2007-2008.
Until 2010, when he was named ambassador to Brazil, he was director general for international relations at the presidential palace in Miraflores.
[The photo above is of Max Sánchez Arveláez together with Lula da Silva, shown here while ambassador to Brazil.]