National Security

John Kerry Caught On Camera Shaking Hands With Murderous Petro Dictator At UN Climate Summit

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Jennie Taer Investigative Reporter
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White House climate envoy John Kerry shook hands in an apparent friendly exchange with Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro at the United Nations (UN) COP27 Climate Change Conference in Egypt this week, according to a video posted to Twitter Tuesday.

The video shows Maduro touched Kerry’s arm and appeared to make him laugh, although it’s unclear what was discussed during the brief exchange posted by Associated Press reporter Joshua Goodman. Kerry is representing the Biden administration at the conference, where the U.S. plans to unveil a plan to pay poor countries to end their reliance on fossil fuels. (RELATED: John Kerry Wants To Pay Poor Countries To Stop Using Fossil Fuels: REPORT)

The State Department said that the conversation in which Maduro “interrupted” Kerry was “unplanned.”

“Those of you who have seen the video will recognize that Nicholas Maduro, he interrupted what was an ongoing meeting at COP27 to engage Special Envoy Kerry. This was very much an unplanned interaction just in the same way that other world leaders have been presented with unplanned interactions from Nicholas Maduro. He briefly spoke to Special Envoy Kerry during COP27. This was not as I said before planned or substantive in any way. Maduro has, unfortunately, as it pertains to COP, overseen a period of significant environmental degradation and destruction of the Amazon through deforestation, through oil spills, and illegal mining, and we believe it is in the interest of the entire region that such activities come to an end. But as far as that conversation goes, it was unplanned and not substantive as well,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at a briefing Tuesday.

“He was caught by surprise. I understand that Nicholas Maduro has done this to a number of world leaders. This was certainly not an interaction that was planned,” Price added.

Maduro was also seen in other videos from the conference having other friendly encounters with world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa.

The Biden administration has faced criticism for approaching the Maduro’s regime with a strategy of appeasement. In March, the Biden administration offered Maduro sanctions relief in exchange for oil as it shut down U.S. production, Reuters reported. The U.S. had banned oil imports from Venezuela since 2019.

Venezuela also released American prisoners to the U.S. one day before Reuters published its report.

“Unjustly holding Americans captive is always unacceptable. And even as we celebrate the return of Cardenas and Fernandez, we also remember the names and the stories of every American who is being unjustly held against their will—in Venezuela, in Russia, in Afghanistan, Syria, China, Iran, and elsewhere around the world. My Administration will keep fighting to bring them all home,” President Joe Biden said in a statement at the time.

The Venezuelan regime “since 2014 planned and executed serious human rights violations, some of which – including arbitrary killings and the systematic use of torture – amount to crimes against humanity,” the UN concluded in 2020.

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