Venezuela’s Ambassador Says Robertson is “No Ordinary Citizen”

Venezuela's Ambassador to the U.S. contradicted the U.S. State Department and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, who had dismissed Pat Robertson's call for Chavez's assassination as the comments of an ordinary private citizen. Ambassador Alvarez highlighted the close connection between Bush and Robertson.

Caracas, Venezuela, August 24, 2005 —Venezuela’s Ambassador to the U.S., Bernardo Alvarez, held a press conference and released a statement today, in which he highlighted that contrary to the State Department’s claim, Pat Robertson, who had called for Venezuelan President Chavez’s assassination, is “ no ordinary private citizen.” Earlier in the day State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack had said, “Pat Robertson is a private citizen and that his views do not represent the policy of the United States.” Later, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld echoed this, saying Robertson is “ a private citizen. Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time.”

Alvarez pointed out that Robertson is no ordinary citizen because he heads an organization, the Christian Coalition, which has 2 million members and was instrumental in catapulting Bush to the nomination of the Republican Party in 2000. According to Alvarez, “Mr. Robertson has been one of this President’s staunchest allies. His statement demands the strongest condemnation by the White House.”

Alvarez classified Robertson’s call for Chavez’s assassination as “a call to terrorism.” “The United States may not permit its citizens to use its territory and airwaves to incite terrorism abroad and the murder of a democratically elected President,” said Alvarez.

According to Alvarez, Venezuela’s embassy in the U.S. has been flooded with e-mail and voice messages expressing support for Venezuela, in light of Robertson’s statement. “We would like thank the American people for the support they have offered us in the wake of the Reverend Pat Robertson’s call for the murder of our President, Hugo Chávez,” said Alvarez.

U.S. Representative José Serrano (D-NY) also issued a statement today, in which he said, “Reverend Pat Robertson’s statement advocating assassinating President Hugo Chavez was beyond the pale.” Serrano highlighted that President Chavez is the democratically-elected leader of the Venezuelan people and that despite this he “has been repeatedly targeted by [the Bush] administration and its proxies with the worst kind of character assassination, solely because they disagree with his social and economic policies. Now it seems that their campaign has turned into one of overt intimidation.”

“Pat Robertson calls himself a man of God. It is extremely distressing to hear that someone who claims to hear the call of the Lord would advocate for breaking one of his commandments. A full retraction and apology is warranted from Rev. Robertson,” said Serrano.