Panama denies pressure from Venezuela to dismiss ambassador
"No pressure, no threats. There has been no pressure whatsoever"
Panamanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Rómulo Roux said on Friday that Venezuela did not pressurize his government at all to dismiss the Panamanian Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) Guillermo Cochez due to his criticism of Venezuela's state of affairs.
"No pressure, no threats. There has been no pressure whatsoever," the foreign minister told AFP.
Roux stressed that Venezuelan authorities contacted their Panamanian counterparts to ascertain whether their stance on Venezuela was consistent with the opinion expressed by Cochez at an OAS session held last Wednesday.
"Sure enough, we clarified that Panama's position is not that represented by Cochez in his remarks," the foreign minister added.
Cochez was dumped on Thursday after affirming that the OAS kept silent in the light of the situation in Venezuela and blasted OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza for endorsing the decision of the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) on deferring the inauguration of reelected President Hugo Chávez.
In his comments, Cochez termed the TSJ decision an affair "with no legal grounds" and charged the OAS for being an accomplice with a "wrongdoing."
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.