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."
A shipment of over 30,000 tons of phosphate arrived at Puerto Cabello port in late July on board the Shi Long Ling, a Chinese-flagged vessel that began its long journey in northern Africa. The cargo boat docked on July 26 after traveling more than 3,200 nautical miles. Undoubtedly, this would just be considered one in many cargo ships crisscrossing the oceans if it were not for the fact that Venezuela has denounced Western Sahara occupation by Morocco and yet purchases the territory's natural resource products from the occupying power.