In response to comments made by incoming U.S. envoy to the U.N., Samantha Smith, Venezuela has halted talks with the U.S. aimed at normalizing relations. Venezuela’s foreign ministry issued the following statement, “The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela hereby ends the process of finally normalizing our diplomatic relations.” Speaking at a U.S. Senate confirmation hearing Ms. Power said she week seek to “combat the crackdown on civil society” in countries like Venezuela. The foreign ministry objected to comments made by Power that appeared to contradict a more subdued tone put forth by Secretary of State John Kerry. The US and Venezuela have had strained relations for many years dating back to then incoming and now deceased President, Hugo Chavez. Although the US backed new President Nicolas Maduro’s opposition in the Presidential election following Chavez’s death, which angered him, there appeared to be a softening of the rhetoric. After Venezuela released and deported a US film maker in June, the two countries agreed to work together to improved strained relations. During a summit in Guatemala, Kerry said he was seeking “ongoing and continuing dialogue in order to establish a more constructive and positive relationship”. He said he wanted “begin to change the dialogue between our countries and hopefully quickly move the appointments of ambassadors between our nations”. That now appears to be on hold indefinitely or until Kerry can repair the damage made by Power’s comments.