Venezuela: U.S. Government is “Terrorist Government Par Excellence”

The U.S. government is "the terrorist government par excellence," Venezuela's representative in the Organisation of American States (OAS), Jorge Valero said in response to Washington's threats to list Venezuela as a "terrorist" nation for supposedly funding the FARC.
Venezuela OAS representative, Jorge Valero (VTV)

Caracas, March 12, 2008, ( – The
United States government is "the terrorist government par excellence,"
Venezuela's representative in the Organisation of American States (OAS), Jorge Valero said in response to Washington's threats to list
Venezuela as a "terrorist" nation for supposedly funding the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

"This is an aberration, an absolutely stupid thing to
say from the government of Mr Bush, which is the terrorist government par
excellence, that practices state terrorism, that has invaded Iraq and
Afghanistan without respect for international law, that commits genocidal
practices in various parts of the world, that has invaded Latin American and
Caribbean countries, that aims to present itself as the moral conscience of the
world," Valero said in an interview with state-owned television station VTV.

U.S. President George W. Bush today accused Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez of backing "terrorists" in neighboring Colombia and using
his country's oil wealth to fuel an anti-American campaign across Latin

Bush made the comments in an address to the U.S.
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington as he called on the U.S. congress to
ratify the US-Colombia free trade agreement. Democrats in the Congress have
stalled the passage of the agreement pointing to Colombia's appalling human
rights record.

Bush argued the accord is "pivotal" to countering the
influence of Chavez throughout Latin America. Since it was first elected in 1998, the Chavez government has used billions of
dollars of oil revenue to fund social programs that provide free
education and healthcare to the poor and has spearheaded a continental
wide revolt against neo-liberalism and U.S. domination.

"As it tries
to expand its influence in Latin America, the regime claims to promote social
justice. In truth its agenda amounts to little more than empty promises and a
thirst for power," Bush claimed in his speech.

Bush also criticized Chavez's response to Colombia's
March 1 military incursion into Ecuador that among 21 others killed Raul Reyes,
the FARC second in command, only days after the guerrilla group had
unilaterally released four prisoners to Venezuelan authorities.

"The president of Venezuela praised the terrorist
leader as a good revolutionary and ordered his troops to the Colombian border,"
the US president said.

Twenty-one archconservative Republican lawmakers including
Connie Mack and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida are calling for Venezuela to
be placed on the U.S. State Department list of countries that sponsor
terrorism, claiming that Venezuela has close links with the FARC.

The Colombian government last week released excerpts
of documents supposedly found on laptops belonging to the FARC seized during
the Colombian military's raid in Ecuador, claiming they showed that the
Venezuelan government had recently made a payment of $300 million to the

However, the only reference to the alleged $300 million
reads; "… With relation to the 300, which from now on we will call "dossier,"
efforts are now going forward at the instructions of the boss to the cojo
[slang term for ‘cripple'], which I will explain in a separate note. Let's call
the boss Ángel, and the cripple Ernesto." It does not mention Chavez or the
Venezuelan government.

The Colombian government has reportedly called in
experts from Interpol to analyze the veracity of the documents.

The Venezuelan government dismissed the claims saying the
only contact it has had with the guerrillas is in negotiations to secure the
release of FARC prisoners held in the jungle for years and facilitate a
humanitarian accord.

Countries such as France and Ecuador have also engaged
in similar negotiations with the guerrillas. Recently declassified State
Department documents also revealed that a U.S. diplomatic mission led
by Philip T. Chicola, then director of the State Department's Office of Andean
Affairs, met secretly in Costa Rica with FARC leaders, Reyes
and Olga Marín in 1998, despite the U.S. government's classification of the
guerrillas as a "terrorist" organization.

Colombia's military attack sparked a diplomatic crisis
with Venezuela and Ecuador last week, however tensions eased after an
agreement, proposed by Venezuela, was adopted and the three heads of state
shook hands at the Rio Group Summit last Friday.

The agreement rejected the violation of Ecuadorian
sovereignty, recognized Colombia's apology for its military aggression, and
committed the signatories to ensure that such an incident never happens again
"under any circumstances."

Ecuador and Venezuela are calling for the next meeting
of the OAS on March 17, to ratify the Rio Group
Summit resolution.

Valero argued it would be "difficult for the U.S.
government to oppose such a resolution. "I don't believe the United States has
sufficient strength to crush the will of the Rio Group countries," he asserted.

If the Bush administration opposes the motion, "The United
States will be shown up as a factor that disturbs Latin American and Caribbean
unity, that obstructs hemispheric relations, which aims to impose doctrines
that are alien to our continent and have been rejected in the Rio Group, for
example, the so-called doctrine of legitimate preventative defense," he

Jorge Pinon, a researcher from the Institute for Cuban
and Cuban-American studies at the University of Miami and former president of
Amoco Oil Latin America said "calling Venezuela a terrorist state would give
the United States a legal reason to impose sanctions."

Daniel Erikson of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington argued it was
unlikely that the U.S. would brand Venezuela as a terrorist sponsor as
Venezuela is the fourth-largest oil supplier to the U.S.

"would cause damage both to the U.S. and Venezuela, because the countries have
such strong economic ties," he added.

Hellinger, a political scientist and Venezuela expert at Webster University in
St. Louis, said the Republicans are "trying to take advantage of the moment
after this blowup with Colombia to try to see if they can cement into law a
more hostile policy toward Venezuela."

Venezuelan Information Minister Andres Izarra, warned of a stepped up U.S. campaign against Venezuela after the Rio Group Summit thwarted Washington's efforts to
isolate the oil rich country. "They are searching for new ways to attack … and move
forward with their plan to finish with the Bolivarian Revolution," as Chavez's
socialist movement is known, Izarra said.