Dog causes diplomatic crisis in South America

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzon rejects assignment as ambassador to Brazil because his German shepherd 'would not adapt to the hot weather'.

Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzon rejects assignment as ambassador to Brazil because his German shepherd 'would not adapt to the hot weather'.

ANKARA - A small diplomatic crisis has erupted between Colombia and Brazil -- all because of a dog.

Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzon turned down an assignment as ambassador to Brazil for what he said were family reasons.

It later emerged that Garzon took a rather broad view of what constituted his family. He told Semana magazine that he had declined the diplomatic assignment because his German shepherd "would not adapt to the hot weather of Brazil."

Not that big a deal? Think again. Brazil is an important trading partner for Colombia. And Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin, for one, was not impressed with Garzon's excuse.

On Tuesday, trying to contain the damage, Holguin went so far as to write a letter of apology to Brazil.

"When he mentioned personal problems, you would expect something deeper than that," she said. "It is as though he doesn't realize the importance of Brazil." 

She also said Garzon's reasoning had damaged Colombia's image in Latin America.

Garzon, 67, said in December that he would not run for presidency in May. But during his interview with Semana, he hinted that he might run for mayor of Bogota, the Colombian capital, where, presumably, his dog will feel at home.

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