"There was a sense that perhaps Maduro was a more pragmatic person, would be amenable to exchange ambassadors," said Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. "The statement he made Tuesday threw a huge bucket of cold water on those hopes."
Maduro had spoken the day before Thanksgiving with Washington's top diplomat for the hemisphere, Roberta Jacobson, about improving ties, especially in fighting drug trafficking. Top diplomats of the two nations met more frequently. But when it came time to honor a newly deceased Chavez, Washington's delegation consisted of two Democratic congressmen and the local embassy charge d'affaires.
Arnson speculated that Maduro might feel he needs to play to the more hard-line wing of his party.