US Officials Statements on Venezuela are a Permanent Provocation

Venezuelan Vice-president Rangel responds to Colin Powell and Richard Boucher statements dismissing CIA's overthrowing of governments as XIX century practices, and claiming that President Chávez has closed newspapers.

Venezuelan Vice-president José Vicente Rangel responded today to some statements made by US government officials on Venezuela’s political situation and the accusations of CIA involvement in Venezuela.

“It really bothers me having to keep answering those statements, because they are routine, they are a permanent provocation. What they say makes no sense. Mr. Colin Powell said something that reveals a certain degree of ignorance of history. He said that the CIA practices denounced here were done in the nineteenth century. It seems like Powell did not live in the twentieth century when the CIA armed the conspiracy against Allende (Chile), against Nicaragua, against the Dominican Republic, against Panama, etc.” said Rangel.

Rangel also talked about the accusations against the Venezuelan government made by the US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. “Mr. Boucher said that the differences with Venezuela are political because we have repressed demonstrators and closed newspapers. I would ask to him; which newspapers has President Hugo Chávez closed?,” asked Rangel.

Boucher said recently that the US problems with Venezuela arise from the way the political problems have been handled in the South American nation, “repressing the press, closing newspapers and beating up demonstrators.”

Previous administrations of Venezuela’s democratic period which started in the 50´s, have all closed newspapers, radio or TV stations, or censored them in some way. Ex-president Caldera, whom Chavez replaced in office, ordered the arrest of an astrologer who predicted his death in a newspaper article. Even thought Chávez’s rethoric has been used by the opposition to imply that he is against freedom of expression, under his administration the media has not been censored or closed, except by opposition local government officials.

Rangel added “I believe that that North American leadership is very traumatized with the events in Iraq, and with the great economic and social problems that that country has. That government has shown a great degree of incapacity with regard to the recent fires in California. In any other country, that would be a reason for a serious questioning of the government because it shows a grad degree of incapacity.”