Venezuelan Legislature Rejects US Official’s Comments on Enabling Law

Reacting to comments by Tom Casey, the spokesman of the U.S. State Department, Venezuela’s National Assembly issued a strongly worded statement last Saturday, rejecting his assessment of the so-called enabling law the legislature is about to pass.

By Venezuelanalysis.com
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Caracas, January 23, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)— Reacting to comments by Tom Casey, the spokesman of the U.S. State Department, Venezuela’s National Assembly issued a strongly worded statement last Saturday, rejecting his assessment of the so-called enabling law the legislature is about to pass. Last Friday, Casey had said that the enabling law has “caused us some concern” and that it “is a bit odd in terms of a democratic system.”

Casey had commented on Chavez’s announcement that he wants the Venezuelan National Assembly to pass an “enabling law” that would allow him to issue law-decrees in ten different areas over the next 18 months.

The National Assembly issued a formal statement on Saturday, saying that Casey’s remark represented an unacceptable intromission in Venezuela’s internal affairs that is typical of the U.S.’s “imperialist vocation.”

The statement went on to say that Casey’s statement demonstrated his ignorance of Venezuela’s constitution, which specifically permits enabling laws—as long as 60% of the legislature approves it—adding, that Chavez was recently reelected with a strong mandate to deepen his socialist program.

For the National Assembly, it is far more “odd” in which the U.S. government bases its legitimacy “to intervene in the internal affairs of the Venezuelan people, to decide to invade countries, to impose destructive economic policies onto nations of the South…”

Assistant Secretary of State Says Chavez Wants Better Relations

Today, during a public talk, Thomas Shannon, the Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, said that he met with Chavez during Daniel Ortega’s inauguration and Chavez had told him that he is interested in improving relations with the U.S.

“I had the opportunity to President Chavez during the swearing in of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua,” said Shannon, “who expressed his desire” to improve relations, reported the AFP today. “We have the hope that what Chavez said indicates a true will to talk,” added Shannon.

Relations between Venezuela and the U.S. have been bad for a long time now. The U.S. accuses Chavez of undermining democracy in Venezuela and in the region. Also, the Bush administration continues to fund opposition groups in Venezuela, to the tune of over $9 million in 2006 alone.

Meanwhile, Chavez has been emphatic about the need to oppose U.S. imperialism and considers the U.S. government to be one of the greatest dangers to human survival. Last September Chavez made an impact with his speech to the UN General Assembly when he jokingly referred to Bush as the “Devil” who left behind a smell of sulfur at the UN.

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