Chavez Slams U.S. Terror Report on Venezuela
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has strongly reacted to a US report in which Washington accused Caracas of having ‘sympathy’ with terrorists.
In a speech on Friday, the Venezuelan leader denounced the US administration for hypocrisy in its policies, stating that US governments have been the ‘sole perpetrator of terror acts using different illegal, violent instruments, for the past 100 years.’
“We categorically reject the Obama government’s report against Venezuela,” he said.
Chavez also warned US President Barack Obama against biased reports that would undermine Obama’s vows of renewing ties with the South American state.
The US State Department has in a recent report on countries sponsoring terrorism accused the government in Caracas of supporting the pro-communist FARC rebels in Columbia, alleging that Chavez’s backing of the FARC is “extremely problematic.”
The allegation sparked outrage in Venezuela, with Hugo Chavez commenting that his country has ‘broken the chains of centuries of colonial West’ and will never go back.
President Obama came under fire last month for sharing a smile with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez at the Summit of the Americas. Critics say that Obama was wrong to be friendly with a foreign leader renowned for his anti-U.S. antics and authoritarian tendencies. It might be expected, because I am a human rights advocate who has documented Chávez’s authoritarian policies and suffered the consequences at the hands of his security forces, that I would share this criticism. But I think time may show that Obama did the right thing.
Already, Obama’s overture has made it more difficult for Chávez to use his personal feud with the U.S. government to divert attention from his country’s problems. It will also be easier for the Obama administration to pursue a serious multilateral effort to pressure the Venezuelan government to reverse its authoritarian approach.
Venezuela is a complicated country. To its credit, it has competitive elections and independent political parties, media outlets, labor unions and civil society organizations. While Venezuela is plagued by chronic human rights problems such as police killings and deplorable prison conditions, there is no systematic denial of fundamental freedoms, as in Cuba. Nor is there an armed conflict with widespread violence by illegal armed groups, as in Colombia. >>>