The diplomatic relationship between our two great countries has been turbulent, and it is important to carefully select an envoy to represent the U.S. at the Venezuelan state funeral in Caracas.
Our sources in the White House and U.S. State Department tell us that a lively debate ensued overnight in the White House situation room, overseen by the President himself.
Normally, with the death of a foreign leader, the vice president is sent. But for the following two safety reasons, that option was not available:
- The Venezuelan Government's accusation that the U.S. injected Chavez with terminal cancer creates a concern for Vice President Biden's safety.
- If Vice President Biden were allowed to speak or give advice in the murder capitol of the Western Hemisphere (Caracas), it might further endanger the Venezuelan People.
At times like these, President Obama often turns to his friends in Hollywood to help convey important messages by sending them to meet with foreign dignitaries.
|Sean Penn & Hugo Chavez|
|Dennis Rodman on ABC's This Week|
Early this morning, the White House and State Department simultaneously released this official announcement:
In recognition of the special relationship between our two countries and in acknowledgement of the enormous grief of the People of Venezuela, President Barack Obama appoints Mr. Dennis Rodman as Special Envoy of the United States of America to attend the state funeral of Great Leader President Hugo Chavez.
|Dennis demonstrating hug technique.|
"I never met the dude, but I've always considered Hugo as a personal friend. We're both big baseball fans. So, yeah, I'll go represent our country. Plus, I give great hugs."
Representative Barbara Lee of California reportedly turned down an offer to attend the Hugo Chavez funeral as part of the U.S. delegation because she will be attending as a personal representative of Cuban President Fidel Castro, who may be too ill to travel.
Note: Pedro Pete, PPPS Latin American Correspondent also contributed to this article.