Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Washington Appoints Business Attache in Caracas Head of the USIS

Havana. April 29, 2011

Washington appoints business attaché in Caracas head of the USIS

Jean-Guy Allard

JOHN Patrick Caufield, business attaché at the U.S. embassy in Caracas, who has headed up this diplomatic representation since the last ambassador was withdrawn, is to replace Jonathan Farrar as head of the U.S. Interests Section (USIS) in Cuba. Farrar has been appointed ambassador to Nicaragua.

Hillary Clinton’s decision has been unofficially announced by the Miami press, privileged by the administration in terms of Cuba-related issues. The information was published with the commonly used caveat that it was disclosed by anonymous official sources lacking the authority to comment on the appointment.

As opposed to ambassador appointments, the naming of the head of the USIS does not require Senate approval given the particular rank of this diplomatic representation.

In Caracas, Caufield replaced Ambassador Patrick Duddy at business attaché level after the latter was expelled in 2010. The selection of a new candidate for the post, the controversial Larry Palmer, was rejected by Caracas because of his erroneous statements about Venezuela.

Caufield’s assignment in Caracas was marked by condemnation of a 2009 meeting he had with the Venezuelan opposition in Puerto Rico in order to draw up anti-government conspiracies. The diplomat denied having participated in the meeting although he did admit to visiting Puerto Rico to attend a wedding.

Last December a report from the diplomatic was disclosed by WikiLeaks. In his text, Caufield stated that right-wing Venezuelan leaders has confided to him that they had no organizing capacity and, for that reason, were utilizing students as pawns in their conspiracies against President Hugo Chávez.

Prior to his assignment in the Venezuelan capital, Caufield – from New Jersey – was consul general in London and Manila, and consul in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, as well as having held other diplomatic posts successively in Peru, Colombia, Portugal and Brazil.

Translated by Granma International •

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