Venezuela, Latin America and The Uphill Challenge to Moroccan Diplomacy

The abrupt rapture of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Venezuela was spectacular to say the least.  Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is known for his support of all causes that are anti-American, and would like to be remembered as a modern day Simon Bolivar. It is but natural for Chavez to champion the "Sahrawi cause" and it is to be expected of the Moroccan authorities to harbor no good will for the Venezuelan leader. However, the timing of the closing of the Moroccan embassy in Caracas is very peculiar. It coincided with the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Venezuela! Considering that Venezuela had recognized the so-called RASD back in the eighties and that Morocco had an embassy in Caracas for all these years, the question remains "why now?".  The Moroccan authorities issued a statement explaining this abrupt move as a "response to the open hostility displayed by [Venezuela] with regard to Morocco's territorial integrity..." Still, it is hard to believe that the Moroccan foreign ministry did not expect some corners of the anti-Moroccan formations to make a veiled linkage between Chaves expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and the closure of the Moroccan Embassy; and did not grasp the ramifications and symbolism of such act and timing.

The Caracas embassy closure is just a small chapter in the larger saga of the Moroccan diplomacy in Latin America. During the Eighties and early Nineties, Moroccan diplomats were on the sideline in major Latin American capitals. With few exceptions, Polisario representatives, backed and financed by Algeria, had the upper hand on the issue of Morocco's territorial integrity. The Algerian version of the Western Sahara conflict was widely accepted in the Latin continent. In short, Moroccan diplomats were in retreat for more than two decades. Rabat started to counter attack in the late nineties and more recently with an aggressive, sharp and focused diplomatic push with new emphasis on shared values and common concerns between Moroccans and Latinos. Yet, years of incompetence and neglect still cast a long shadow on the Kingdom's diplomatic efforts to persuade several Latin countries of the legality if the Moroccan cause.

During the cold war, most of Central and South America's countries (including Mexico) were divided in two camps as was the rest of the world. Naturally, left leaning countries were sympathetic to the Algerian position on the Western Sahara conflict; and most of them, in fact, recognized the so-called Sahrawi Republic (RASD). However, the countries that were more centrist or right leaning did not necessarily support Morocco's claims on its Sahara. It was a massive failure of the Moroccan diplomacy and a big boost to its adversaries.

Staking more odds against an already weak Moroccan diplomacy, all of the Polisario representatives dispatched to Latin America were trained in the mean lean `Havana's diplomatic "School". Cuba's aid to the Algerian's endeavor in Latin America is priceless and has been the back bone of Algiers anti-Moroccan efforts in the region. Actually, it is the Cuban connection that is behind the Algerian success in Latin America. Castro's vast network of well staffed diplomatic stations throughout Latin America helped design and execute Algeria's plans to discredit Morocco's positions.

While Algeria used Havana to launch its diplomatic attacks against Morocco, Rabat played catch up; and in other instances gave up and just decided to coexist with a RASD representation in the same capital. The case of Mexico is a blunt example of the Moroccan Failure to fight back. During the Eighties and parts of the Nineties, Mexico was governed by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), a center right political party that has good relations with the West and the USA, thus should be more sympathetic to Morocco's position. Furthermore, Polisario opened an "embassy" in Mexico City in 1988 during the presidency of Carlos Salinas de Gortari who was known of his pro-western policies. So, why did Mexico recognized the RASD under this less than favorable condition to the Algerian position? Schooled in Castro's foreign policy machine, Algerian operatives, familiar with the Mexican political culture, targeted the ruling PRI apparatus instead of the Mexican foreign ministry. Well aware of the existence and influence of a small but powerful pro-Cuba cluster within the Nationalist wing of the PRI, Polisario representatives cultivated a relationship with this group to push their agenda bypassing the foreign minister who would had been less responsive to their concerns. The Algerian efforts were rewarded by the opening of a RASD "embassy" next to the Moroccan one.

The Mexico case is a typical example of the shortcomings of the Moroccan diplomacy. To regain its diplomatic prestige, the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs must make  serious efforts to attract the best and the brightest Moroccan youth.  The many young Moroccan men and women who master foreign languages, understand cultural sensitivities, grasp local political realities' and  are willing to serve their country should be drafted to represent and defend their homeland overseas. As important, the talent that already exists in current Moroccan diplomatic representations around the word should be cultivated, encouraged and rewarded. It is time for our high ranking diplomats to put the national interest ahead of the personal one.
An ambassadorship is a job and not a hobby.


0 #6 morocco is callingmoljbeer 2009-09-04 00:12
Clouds of the remnants of the cold war still linger the political arena; nevertheless, once cleared, Morocco is on the winning side. I also predict that the solution will eventuallly come from Algeria, once democracy is instituted or at least a version of it as opposed to the current military-type of government.
0 #5 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Venezuela, Latin America and The Uphill Challenge to Moroccan DiplomacyTheLizardKing! 2009-02-14 17:49
Keep crying lzr. We love the makhzen, if it's doing one good thing, it is keeping vermin species behind the wall. Cry as much as you want, you belong to us, you, the land and the camels. boutef can't do S....T for you and so can't castro nor chavez. this is the 21st century not the seventies. COMPRENDE!!

Come to your senses and come home son!
0 #4 my experience with venezuela and morccan diplomacyreda 2009-02-09 12:34
during a business trip in 1998 to caracas which happened to be during the 98 worldcup of soccer i was staying with my collegues at one of caracas s upscale hotels ,in the lobby the hotel had put up a nice display about the world cup with the participating countries flags...of course i was excited to look for my (nejma khmassia khadra) my horror the moroccan flag was a breen star of david on a red flag(at least the colors were correct!!!)..i immediately told the hotel staff after asking a collegue to take a picture of me with the anecdotal flag with a grin on my face...then i started thinking ...where is our ambassador? why is he not doing his job that he is getting paid for from the people?...we should be i the business of making friends with everybody because we have to get votes on our sahara..these represntatives don t deserve their jobs as the diplomatic faces of our today i am not surprised that a bunch of bandits (polisario) is getting support from venezuela a petroleum club member...shame shame..
0 #3 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Venezuela, Latin America and The Uphill Challenge to Moroccan DiplomacySaid 2009-02-06 06:24
you just continue to put yourselves in a deep long hole of darkness makhzen family.
Venezuela put shame on you and your government due to your ignorence, this makhzen family it is just few people paid to do this job and repeating whatever your king says. Majority of moroccans in morocco or ousite morocco do not care they had it and they had enough from all this propaganda to get the WSahara in your pocket, well guess what it won't happen.
0 #2 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Venezuela, Latin America and The Uphill Challenge to Moroccan Diplomacykingstone 2009-02-05 21:35
Morocco still using the same old politics of decads ago, if you belng to the golden circle you will acces the good positions, when you see that the majority of the best positions in Morocco belong to Fassi Fihri family, and now he is preparing his son on diplomacy, like an heritage position, Fassi or Bennani, i don't understand exactley this big enigma, all those peopole took control of the country and they don't let any skilled person to access to any high position, this cleared i'll this topic issue.
every one knows that morocco don't have people speacking and understanding latin minds, because the golden circle have french coltural background, and even they don't speak spanish, and latin america is a really good economic space, unfortunately we let Algeria whith no spanish historic ties to be better valued than Morocco with more than 6 million spanish speakers,we have ggod ties with iran russia, we should use those and other methods to access the venezuelan F.P.
Venezuela is going to a deep problem thenks to thier leader, you should learn and read about this guy, he is mad (1000 times more thatn gadafi) when he speak and dream of the big latim america countries ( bolivar revolution) he is dangerouse ( we can see that he is the Algeria of south America) promoting and financing unstability EG. FARC,
please tell me
0 #1 Project managerSaid 2009-02-05 10:06
I do agree with Mr. Masiky especially on the notion that Morocco must prepare and have competent diplomats in place in order to defend its interests. We are not scared of Cuba, Venezuela or Algeria. They have no power whatsover. These are fringe countries bent on creating chaos in a world which is more and more unified and not dissected. Their effots will fail. It is just a matter of time. Now, in regards to the diplomats, we are ready and with our credentials and full qualifications to defend the interests of our nation through fair and foul. I do have a degree in international relations and and MBA. The sad reality is that some Moroccan officials have chosen to serve themselves and not relinquish their positions for the good of the country. We are ready to serve as of today. I am waiting for the call.

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