Trump appoints an ambassador to Venezuela

US President Donald Trump nominated James Broward Story on Wednesday as "extraordinary and plenipotentiary" ambassador to Venezuela, with whose government he has not had diplomatic relations since January 2019.

Story is since July 2018 the interim charge d'affaires - the highest office in the absence of an ambassador - of the United States embassy in Venezuela.

He first held his position in Caracas and now he does so from the United States embassy in Colombia.

Nicolás Maduro's government expelled Story and US diplomats from Caracas in January 2019 after Trump recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

Washington also expelled Maduro's diplomats in 2019 and currently recognizes Guaidó's envoy, Carlos Vecchio, as ambassador, to whom he has handed over Venezuela's diplomatic buildings in the U.S.

Story's appointment as ambassador comes days after the failed attacks in Venezuela involving Venezuelan military deserters and two US mercenaries, who are in Caracas custody.

Although Washington has denied any involvement in the attacks, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday that his government will use "all the tools" at its disposal to repatriate the Americans, two former green berets identified as Airan Berry and Luke Denman.

In addition, Pompeo himself explained last week that he has already started making plans to reopen his embassy in Caracas.

"I asked my team last week to have our plans ready for when the day comes," said the highest-ranking US diplomat.

Pompeo's goal is for everything to be prepared so that when "democracy returns" to Venezuela, Venezuelans know that "physically the Americans are with them", and considered that "raising the American flag over the embassy in Caracas will be a great symbol of that. "

The United States has no ambassador to Venezuela since the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez (1999-2013) expelled then-Washington envoy Patrick Duddy in 2010.

Story was previously the United States consul in Rio de Janeiro and held various diplomatic positions in Afghanistan, Colombia, Mexico and Mozambique.


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