Venezuela temporarily cuts off contact with US


A woman walks past a mural of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas.


Leo Ramirez

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said Wednesday that "any type of contact" with US diplomats has been "postponed" now that President Hugo Chavez has died and the country is preparing for a critical presidential election, according to the Associated Press

The United States and Venezuela pulled their respective ambassadors in 2010. While relations haven't been great, they've taken a turn for the worse since the death of the Venezuelan leader. 

The two countries expelled one another's officials in an unpleasant little exchange earlier this month. 

US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson was said to have been trying to communicate with Venezuela's leadership before Chavez's passing, said AP.

But things have been tense since then. Venezuelan leaders have hinted at possible US involvement in Chavez's death, widely believed caused by cancer. The government is currently investigating the case.

Despite this, Jaua made a point of saying the move should not be interpreted as an end to diplomatic and consular relations between the two nations -- this is only temporary, he said, according to AP.

"This channel of communication is suspended at this time, deferred until there is a clear message on what type of relationship the United States wants with Venezuela," Agence France-Press cited him as saying. 

"Hopefully there will be a rectification and the meddling of the United States will cease," he added, according to AP

Chavez died on March 5. Venezuela is set to hold presidential elections on April 14.