|Minister of Communication and Information Andrés Izarra speaking to reporters.|
Caracas, Venezuela, June 9, 2005—Andrés Izarra, the Minister of Communication and Information, said that Venezuelan government achieved a “resounding success” at the recently ended 35th Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He pointed out that eight of Venezuela’s nine proposed resolutions passed, which represented 10% of all of the General Assembly’s resolutions. Vice-President José Vicente Rangel referred to the meeting as a “victory for Venezuela.”
During a press conference yesterday, Izarra highlighted three resolutions that the Chavez government proposed and that all contribute towards strengthening peace and democracy in the region. The first he mentioned was the resolution on international law and continental peace, which states that “for there to be world peace there must be respect for sovereignty.” According to Izarra, this resolution represented “perhaps the most emblematic and the greatest triumph of Venezuela in the assembly and that contrasts, directly, the U.S. proposal to create a monitoring body for the democracies of Latin America.”
The second resolution Izarra highlighted was the one that dealt with freedom of expression and the importance of the mass media. This resolution “asks the OAS to deepen its research into the threat to freedom of expression that the concentration of the media in a few hands represents, as well as how the use of the media for the support of hate is a threat to democratic society.”
Finally, the third resolution Izarra mentioned was the one on terrorism and extradition, which says that the countries that are part of the Interamerican System, “commit themselves not to support terrorists that are wanted for crimes in other countries. This favors Venezuela in the face of the extradition request to the U.S. for Luis Posada Carriles.”
Izarra also said that Venezuela tried to improve its relations with the U.S. at the meeting, but that the U.S. would first have to open normal channels of communication. “We hope that our legitimate representatives to that nation [the U.S.] will have the same access to the State Department as do representatives of coupsterism,” said Izarra, in a veiled reference to Condoleezza Rice’s meeting with Maria Corina Machado, of the opposition group Sumate, who had participated in the swearing-in of Venezuelan coup president Pedro Carmona, back in April 2002.
|Vice-President José Vicente Rangel talking to reporters.|
VP Rangel: “A defeat for Bush and Rice”
Venezuela’s Vice-President José Vicente Rangel also considered Venezuela’s performance at the OAS General Assembly to be “a great victory.” Rangel said, “despite some critics who say that Venezuela’s foreign ministry is dismantled, the truth is that the great victories are being made by Venezuela’s foreign policy at this time.”
Opposition leaders had been accusing the foreign ministry of displacing long-time career diplomats in the ministry and that it is placing people based on political loyalty to Chavez.
“The U.S. President and the Secretary of State became directly involved in the event, that is, … it was a defeat for Bush and Rice, who could not impose the point of views that they brought: this monitoring, this type of disguised intervention that they proposed and that was rejected by the majority, said Rangel.
“Latin America has its own identity … it has recuperated its dignity, not to confront the United States, but to confront imperialist politics,” he added.