U.S. Embassy inserts cleat in mouth (UPDATE: I'm the one with the cleat in his mouth)

Venezuela’s love affair with its national soccer team is strong and growing. The President, the opposition, the media … everyone loves the Vinotinto. Some days, we think it’s the only thing keeping our country on a somewhat even keel.

Naturally, the U.S. Embassy thought it would be a great idea to deny some of our players their visas, insulting our national pride and providing fodder for Hugo Chávez in the process.

Turns out the Federation was scheduling friendly matches with El Salvador and Honduras. Naturally, these matches would be played … in Washington and Fort Lauderdale.

But the U.S. Consulate in Caracas gets to decide which players get to play!

Funny, I don’t recall the Chilean miners getting this kind of treatment. But I guess Chile is not listed under “countries whose national heroes we need to insult.”

Cue the cadena with Chávez ranting about this in five … four … three …

Guys: if one of the main reasons for being in Venezuela is to create goodwill toward your government, then you’re doing the exact opposite.

Update: The Embassy says the story is not true … in a tweet. Nothing yet on their website. Not clear what part of it is untrue.

Update 2: I apologize for believing what Globovisión published was true. The Soccer Federation says everyone has their visas, so I guess that’s that. I still would like to know where this story originated. I wrote the Caracas consulate asking them to clarify, but all I got back was a message from a robot.

Update 3: The story apparently originated from state-owned news agency AVN. Had I realized this sooner, I would have not published the post. The real question now is why AVN would think they could make this stuff up and expect to get away with it.

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