In what could be considered a weird twist in US diplomacy towards Latin America, it has been rumored that Mexico’s Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda has been co-opted to the US State Department as its main consultant in hemispheric policy.

Mexican magazine “Proceso” claims that US Secretary of State Colin Powell has consulted Castaneda on policy towards Venezuela 15 times since Venezuela’s opposition started its national lockout against President Hugo Chavez Frias started on December 2.

  • It would appear that Castaneda is about to resign from his post to head a think tank or diplomatic team dealing with the Venezuelan problem.

Castaneda has fired his first volley criticizing the new Brazilian government’s assistance to Chavez Frias in the domestic oil crisis. Speaking to Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, Castaneda is quoted as saying that the defense of institutionality in Venezuela should not be confused with support for one side against the other because it would be seen as a hostile act by the other side.

Diplomatic sources indicate that Castaneda is willing to head a delegation of Latin American countries to visit Caracas to talk to both sides.

However, other political observers suggest that Castaneda has already put his foot in it by attacking Brazil and inadvertedly siding with the Venezuelan opposition.