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A conversation with Ambassador Patrick Duddy


CARACAS, Venezuela — For what it’s worth, here’s some more of the conversation from last Friday with Patrick Duddy, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela from 2007 until 2010 and who kindly gave me nearly a half-hour of time to discuss current U.S.-Venezuelan relations.

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The late president Hugo Chávez ejected Duddy from the country on September 11, 2008, though Duddy returned a few months later, and I was curious as to his view of U.S.-Venezuelan relations especially because he served under both U.S. presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Obama’s appointee to succeed Duddy, Larry Palmer, was rejected out of hand by Chávez in 2011, and the post continues to remain vacant.  Palmer now serves as ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

Duddy, a veteran U.S. diplomat, has served throughout Latin America, including Brazil, Paraguay, Chile and Bolivia.

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On the policy differences between the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama on Venezuela:

It would be easier to underscore the commonalities between the Bush and Obama administrations. I served as ambassador from 2007 to September of 2008 for President Bush, and then as you know, I was expelled on Sept. 11, 2008, spent some months out of the country, [and] returned the next summer as President Obama’s ambassador…

Both administrations, while I was ambassador had a pretty clear message which was we thought… both sides would benefit from a more productive relationship.

On Maduro and potential U.S. relations in a Maduro administration: Continue reading A conversation with Ambassador Patrick Duddy