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Latino Daily News

Tuesday May 20, 2014

Venezuela and Panama Resume Diplomatic Relations after Trade Dispute

Panama and Venezuela “have proceeded to the exchange of (diplomatic) notes” to restore consular relations, suspended since March 5 together with diplomatic and trade ties in the wake of a political dispute, the Panamanian Foreign Ministry said Monday.

The ministry expressed its gratitude to Costa Rica for “having taken on the role of custodian of assets and consular functions while serving Panamanian citizens in Venezuela.”

The reopening of consular facilities in both countries “will take place in the next few days.” No further details were given.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro unilaterally broke off diplomatic relations with Panama on March 5 after the Central American nation sought to have the Organization of American States examine political strife in Venezuela.

The political upheaval in Venezuela since mid-February has left dozens dead and hundreds jailed following student-led protests against the Maduro government.

Panamanian President-elect Juan Carlos Varela, who takes office on July 1, has maintained his determination to fully renew relations with Caracas.

After relations were broken off, Panama presented “notes of protest” before the World Trade Organization for what it considers discriminatory measures by Venezuela, which include the suspension of millions of dollars in debt owed by Venezuelan importers to Panamanian exporters in the Colon Free Trade Zone.

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