According to documents released by Wikileaks, the strained relationship between the United States and Venezuela even extended to arguments over fast food.
In U.S. diplomatic cables describing the rising tension between U.S. officials and those of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, an argument Domino’s Pizza or McDonalds occurred.
Each incident, like that over the fast food, may seem silly, but when looked at as a whole they serve to highlight the strained relationship between the two countries.
In the cables, it is apparent that U.S. diplomats are well aware of the stakes behind the relationship.
“Overall, Chavismo poses a serious threat to democracy not just in Venezuela but throughout the region, and it directly competes against U.S. influence in Latin America,” a U.S. diplomat cabled confidentially to Washington in June 2009 at the end of his time in Caracas.
The cables go on to point to Chavez’s ego and hate rhetoric when speaking of the possibility that he is turning the people of Venezuela against the U.S.
One U.S. diplomat spoke of Chavez’s “hate-sowing rhetoric” and said the president had convinced many Venezuelans that the U.S. would one day invade the country in order to gain control of the oil-rich Venezuelan land.
Another reported seeing propaganda that “had an officer throwing a rifle to a reservist and screaming, ‘The gringos are coming for your women. What are you going to do?’”
In a 2007 cable, a diplomat wrote of how Chavez’s ego was getting out of control, and “so far, Chavez has not erected statues of himself or put his visage on Venezuelan stamps and currency, but it may only be a matter of time.”
Today, Caracas and Washington no longer have ambassadors in one another’s capitals.