Caracas, Venezuela, November 10, 2005 – During a meeting at the Teresa Carreno Theater Wednesday night, President Hugo Chavez said that Mexican President Vincente Fox’s support of the US during the recent Summit of the America’s was unfortunate. Chavez said, “How sad that the President of a people like the people of Mexico lets himself become the puppy dog of the empire.”
Mexico’s foreign ministry responded to this by asking the Venezuelan Ambassador to Mexico, “to present an explanation.” Chavez’s comments come after a week of hostile words between the leaders of Mexico, Argentina, and Venezuela, following the defeat of the US agenda at the recent Summit of the Americas.
Vincente Fox is identified as a close US’s ally. At the summit he was a strong supporter of the Bush administration’s proposed Free Trade Area of the America proposal, or FTAA. Chavez fought hard against the FTAA at the summit. Ultimately, several other nations including Argentina voted against the FTAA, resulting in a failure for the US policy. At the end of the summit, Chavez said he, “tasted victory,” and “buried” the FTAA.
Days after the summit, Fox attacked Chavez saying, “we have some Presidents, fortunately a minority, who blame other countries for all their problems.” Mr Fox also criticized the Argentinean President, Nestor Kirchner, saying he was more concerned with, “complying with Argentine public opinion… than with effectively conducting a successful summit in terms of hemispheric integration.”
On November 8, Kirchner said Argentina is, “in agreement with economic integration, but without asymmetries,” and, “I’m not going to go to a summit to surrender the interests of Argentines to please the guests, however big they may be.” He also said he didn’t like Fox’s way of, “head bowing,” to US policy suggestions.
Tuesday Chavez said Fox exited the summit, "bleeding from his injuries." Wednesday night he added, “It makes one sad to see President Fox selling out.” Chavez also said he had opposed the FTAA for all of Latin America. Chavez said, “We are defending not only our own fate, this is about everything, the possibility for us to be vigorous countries with an integrated development.”
The three Latin American countries are now trying to create a public image of good relations. Spokespersons for Argentina’s and Mexico’s foreign ministries made a joint declaration on November 9, stating that though they had, “talked amply,” about recent issues there was, “room for differences,” and that Mexico and Argentina still have an, “excellent level of relations.”
Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Alí Rodríguez Araque, said, “we want to maintain good relations with Mexico and the Mexican people.” Rodríguez sarcastically added that Fox had, “totally resolved all of Mexico’s problems… because he is very generous to occupy himself with the problems of Argentina and Venezuela.” Mr Fox has come under attack in the Mexican Congress, where a strong opposition said he behaves like, “a pawn and protector of US interests.”