Venezuela’s Chavez Says Pat Robertson Expresses Wishes of U.S. Elite

Chavez said that Pat Robertson's call for his assassination were the expression of a frustrated U.S. elite. He also said that if something were to happen to him the Bolivarian Revolution would continue. Meanwhile, Venezuela suspended the issuing of new permits to foreign preachers.

Caracas, Venezuela, August 27, 2005—Venezuela’s President Chavez, in his first extended response to Reverend Pat Robertson’s call for Chavez’s assassination, said that Robertson expresses “the desire of the elite that governs the U.S.” Chavez added that this was nothing new because there is plenty of evidence that the U.S. supported plots for his assassination.

Chavez made the remarks during a ceremony in which the government paid its debt of back pay and retirement benefits to university employees that had accumulated during the years 1999 to 2001.

Early in the week ultra-conservative televangelist Reverend Pat Robertson had said, “I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he [Chavez] thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.” After his remarks caused outrage among members of the U.S. Congress and religious leaders, Robertson first denied having made the remark and then admitted to it and apologized, saying it was an expression of frustration about Chavez.

According to Chavez, the dominant political and economic classes of the U.S. are “entering a phase of desperation now, at the beginning of the 21st century,” which is why they are interested in resorting to acts such as assassination. Chavez also mentioned that the Fox New Channel had presented a former CIA agent, who said, “one must put an end to Chavez before he puts an end to us.”

With regard to the U.S. government’s official response to Pat Robertson, Chavez said, that the U.S. “has not taken any action. What would happen here in Venezuela if someone gets on television asking my government to assassinate the president of the U.S.?”

The only official reactions from the Bush administration have come from State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack, who called Pat Robertson’s remarks “inappropriate” and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who said that Robertson’s remarks were those of a “private citizen” and that political assassinations are not something that the Defense Department does.

“This process will not be turned back. Everyone here knows what they have to do; they will not have to do anything else other than to continue moving the Bolivarian Revolution forward.” He went on to say that if the U.S. were to break the rules, then Venezuelans “will not be obliged to follow the rules of the game; they will have to break them too.”

Venezuela Suspends Permits for Foreign Preachers

Venezuela’s head of the Justice and Interior Ministry’s religious affairs unit, Carlos Gonzalez, announced yesterday that Venezuela would suspend the authorization of permits for foreign preachers while the government reviews and tightens existing regulations on preachers already in Venezuela.

According to Gonzalez, his department had been considering this move for a while, but Pat Robertson’s declarations “have made us speed things up.”