Venezuelan ministry of foreign affairs released a statement saying US' U.N. ambassador-designate Samantha Power's criticism of its human rights record compelled it to halt negotiations to restore normal ties with the US. The negotiations have begun in Guatemala last month between Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua, and his US counterpart John Kerry. Power said in Senate confirmation hearings on Wednesday that Venezuela was guilty of a "crackdown on civil society" together with Cuba, Iran and Russia. Chances to restore the diplomatic ties, absent since 2010, initially decreased after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro offered asylum to US leaker Edward Snowden