Caracas, November 8, 2022 (OrinocoTribune.com)—During the 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, shook hands. The brief diplomatic gesture caught the attention of mainstream media and was hotly debated by news outlets within Venezuela.
US journalist Joshua Goodman, from Associated Press, published a video of the meeting, in which Maduro and Kerry can be seen, between laughter and jokes, briefly exchanging words and wishing each other luck in the corridors of the International Convention Center of Sharm El-Sheikh.
The encounter was also covered by Bloomberg, Voice of America, Fox News, and ABC News, among other mainstream media outlets, to the point that the White House, via State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, felt a need to clarify that the brief encounter “was unplanned … and non-substantive” and that the former secretary of state “was caught by surprise.” Price also noted that Maduro has done this to other leaders in the past, and, with typical US hypocrisy, questioned Venezuela’s environmental record.
In this regard, it should perhaps be noted that US carbon dioxide (CO2) emission levels are approximately 15.52 tons per person each year, according to Worldometer. Venezuela’s per capita emissions, by comparison, are 5.89 tons, while the world average is 4.79 tons per year.
Goodman accompanied his tweet with the following text: “Any lip readers? Maybe recalling their days bonding over baseball at a Cape Cod retreat of the Grupo de Boston (Boston Group), two decades ago. Nicolas Maduro was a Venezuelan deputy and John Kerry was still a senator. Those meetings helped ease tensions following 2002 coup.”
Any lip readers?
Maybe recalling their days bonding over baseball at a Cape Cod retreat of the @grupodeboston two decades ago. @NicolasMaduro was a lawmaker and @JohnKerry
still a senator. Those meetings helped ease tensions following 2002 coup. pic.twitter.com/Z0ZWRZ5Xwj
— Joshua Goodman (@APjoshgoodman) November 8, 2022
The Boston Group was a parliamentary commission of the National Assembly of Venezuela financed by the Organization of American States (OAS) and created out of the Venezuelan–US parliamentary friendship group, formed in 2002 after the failed coup d’état against Hugo Chávez, in which the US played a leading role, along with Spain. In this group, parliamentarians from the United States and Venezuela agreed to meet outside the country to discuss key issues for both nations in an environment of less polarization.
During the COP27 working day this Monday, the Venezuelan head of state also spoke with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. The two discussed topics related to the political changes occurring in Latin America and the Mexico Talks being conducted with a segment of the Venezuelan opposition. Many local analysts joked that, if one looked carefully, it was possible to see oil rigs in Macron’s eyes—a reference to France and Europe’s desperate need for energy following the crisis created by their blind adherence to the foolhardy sanctions regime applied by the US against Russia.
Diplomatic relations between Venezuela and the US have deteriorated to the point where there are no diplomatic relations or consular activity between the two countries. However, in May 2022, the Biden administration sent a high-level delegation to meet with President Maduro in Caracas. Venezuela has been the victim of countless illegal US sanctions against its oil industry, the country’s main source of income, thus harming regular Venezuelans. The illegal coercive economic measures and resulting economic damage has led to the death of about 40,000 Venezuelans each year since 2017, according to experts including CEPR (Washington, DC-based Center for Economic and Policy Research).
Orinoco Tribune Special by staff
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