Venezuela Yet to Recognize Mexico’s President-elect

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced on Tuesday night that “Venezuela has not recognized the new Mexican government” and stated that they are “evaluating” the situation.

Caracas, Venezuela, September 14, 2006 -Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced on Tuesday night that “Venezuela has not recognized the new Mexican government” and stated that they are “evaluating” the situation.  Chavez made the statements at a Caracas event for the fifth anniversary of the Venezuelan Women’s Bank.

“I don’t want to interfere out of respect for the internal matters of the country, but of course we are worried about the situation in which the Mexican people are living and the circumstances under which the electoral process came about,” said Chavez.

Chavez announced his fears for “the strong accusations and evidence of strange things that may have taken place during the electoral process.”

“The foreign minister Nicolas Maduro said it first, and I second him.  We are evaluating.  Venezuela has not recognized the new Mexican government,” he said.

In a Press Conference yesterday, Rubén Aguilar Valenzuela, spokesperson for the Mexican President, responded to Chavez’ remarks by saying, “The declarations of commander Hugo Chavez do not deserve any comment.”

The Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Relations further announced last night that the comments from Venezuela and Bolivia “do not have any legal value.”

“The result of the electoral process in Mexico do not require recognition on the part of any other nation, it is the result of the institutions that that we, the Mexicans, have given ourselves,” it announced. 

On September 5, Mexico’s Federal Electoral Tribunal ended a two-month re-count standoff by unanimously voting to declare Presidential candidate Felipe Calderon, Presidential-elect.  Calderon was declared winner by 233,831 votes, a margin of 0.56 percent, in Mexico’s closest election ever.   With claims of fraud, Leftist candidate and former Mexico City Mayor, Andrés Manuel López Obrador refused to accept the results and vowed to hold a national convention in which delegates could elect him as Mexico’s alternate president.

In all there were 375 electoral complaints in the Presidential elections, most by Obrador’s PRD party.  A recount was held of 9% of the 41 million votes cast, and over 200,000 votes were annulled from both candidates for various reasons. Mr. López Obrador’s chief petition before the tribunal, of a complete recount, was not granted.

Venezuela and Mexico have had nearly a year of intense relations, in which President Chavez did not attempt to hide his vocal support for Mexican presidential candidate Obrador in July’s elections.

Last November, during the Summit of the America’s in Mar de Plata, Argentina, Chavez called Mexican president Vicente Fox a “lap dog of the empire,” referring to the close relations of the Mexican government with the United States.  Fox responded and a spat ensued in which both countries withdrew their respective ambassadors.      

President elect Calderon, 44, is the former Mexican energy secretary, and has promised to follow Fox’ free-market, pro-business policies to create jobs and fight poverty.  He has said that he is looking to increase collaboration with the Latin American nations and announced that he will “have a respectful relation with all of the heads of state without exception, including Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia.”

According to El Universal, Fernando Canales Clariond, Mexico’s current Secretary of Energy announced yesterday that regardless of “the incidents that have occurred on other levels,” Mexico and Venezuela maintain “excellent relations” in energy cooperation.  He stated that less than a month ago the two countries renovated the San Jose Pact, “one of the oldest running energy and financial cooperation agreements in Latin America.”