Sen. Marco Rubio has warned the top U.S. diplomat in Venezuela, Todd Robinson, after he made a comment that appeared to differ from Trump administration policy on presidential elections set for May 20.
“There’s been no change in the policy of President Trump and the US about #Maduro and Venezuela. But what could change is the head of the #US embassy in #Venezuela,” Rubio wrote on his Twitter account in a post linking to an el Nuevo Herald story.
The story reported that Robinson had expressed a view of the upcoming presidential election that was different from the posture of the Trump administration.
“There are different theories about the outcome of the elections, and in the end Venezuelans will decide whether the elections are credible or not, and we will wait for the decision of the Venezuelans,” Robinson told Union Radio in Caracas.
The U.S. government and several influential Latin American nations have denounced the election as illegitimate and unconstitutional.
Rubio, a Florida Republican, is a sharp critic of President Nicolás Maduro and has a powerful influence over the Trump administration’s policies on Venezuela.
Robinson’s statement also irked Venezuelan exiles who say that the election will be illegitimate and who support the Trump administration’s sanctions on Maduro regime officials.
Robinson, who graduated from Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and worked as a journalist before joining the State Department, became chargé d’affaires of the embassy in Caracas in December.
He previously served as ambassador in Guatemala from 2014-2017, deputy undersecretary in the State Department’s Office for Narcotics and Law Enforcement and consul general in Barcelona, Spain.
He has also been posted to the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, the Vatican, Italy, El Salvador and Colombia and served as special assistant to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Follow Sonia Osorio on Twitter: @soniaosoriog.