Venezuela’s Chávez Declares Support for Obama’s Nuclear Disarmament Pledge

During a diplomatic tour aimed at creating a "pluri-polar world," Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez pledged his support for United States President Barack Obama's call for nuclear disarmament, and said he hopes the upcoming Summit of the Americas will provide an opportunity to "reset" diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Venezuela.

By James Suggett – Venezuelanalysis.com

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Japan this week (ABN)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Japan this week (ABN)
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Mérida, April 6th
2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) - During a diplomatic tour aimed at creating a
"pluri-polar world," Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez pledged his support for
United States President Barack Obama's call for nuclear disarmament, and said he
hopes the upcoming Summit of the Americas will provide an opportunity to
"reset" diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Venezuela.

"It is very encouraging
that [Obama] is going to propose an end to, or promote the dismantling of
nuclear weapons in the world," said Chávez on Tuesday morning in Tokyo, where
Venezuelan and Japanese officials had spent two days developing an energy
alliance and other economic accords worth $33.5 billion.

"Hopefully Obama will be able
to implement his new policy. In this, we will support him with everything,"
said Chávez. He added that the U.S.
should ask for Japan's
forgiveness for having dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

The leader of Venezuela's
drive toward "21st Century Socialism" also said he is willing "to
shake Obama's hand and tell him to come over to this side, with those of us who
truly want a world of peace, who truly love humanity."

"Let's make an alliance to
fight against hunger, misery, war, violence, racism, drug trafficking, and
terrorism," said Chávez.

Chávez's comments were a response
to Obama's declarations last Sunday following North Korea's apparent test-firing
of a long-range rocket. Obama said, "As the only nuclear power to have used a
nuclear weapon, the United
States has a moral responsibility to act. We
cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it."

Also on Tuesday, Chávez reiterated
his desire to renew U.S.-Venezuelan diplomatic relations, which froze last
September after both Venezuela and its ally Bolivia expelled their respective U.S.
ambassadors on suspicion that the ambassadors were conspiring with separatist
movements to destabilize the Bolivian and Venezuelan governments.

"On the basis of respect,
everything is possible: Rapprochement, even a possible dialogue," said Chávez.
"The day will arrive when we are friends with the United States."

At the beginning of his
diplomatic tour last week, Chávez proposed a new international currency backed
by oil reserves during the II Summit of Arab and South American Countries in Qatar, then he inaugurated
a bi-national bank with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran.

In Iran on Saturday,
Chávez said he hopes to "reset" U.S.-Venezuelan relations face-to-face with
Obama at the Summit
of the Americas
in Trinidad and Tobago
next weekend.

"We do not want to impose
anything on the U.S.,
and neither should the U.S.
come to impose something on a sovereign government," said Chávez. "They should
hear our criticisms, and we should hear theirs... but they should not think they
are the saviors of the world, because until now they have been the destroyers
of the world."

Since Chávez was elected to
his first presidential term ten years ago, his administration has promoted new
regional trade mechanisms to end the hegemony of U.S.-dominated financial
institutions. His administration has also strongly denounced the U.S.'s invasion
of Iraq
and Afghanistan,
as well as the U.S.'s
support for a two-day military coup led by elite business owners against Chávez
in 2002.  

The Obama administration
has echoed the rhetoric of former U.S. President George W. Bush by accusing
Chávez of "impeding progress in the region," but took a softer line by
withholding judgment when Venezuelans approved a constitutional amendment to
abolish term limits on elected offices in a national referendum in February.

Despite ongoing tensions
between the two countries, the U.S.
continues to import a third of Venezuela's
oil, and Chávez acknowledged on Tuesday that the U.S. remains a principal investor
in Venezuela.

President Chávez arrived in
China
on Tuesday afternoon to finish his tour. He plans to meet with Chinese
President Hu Jintao to review the nearly 70 existing accords between the two
nations, which include joint oil projects in the Orinoco Oil Belt,
infrastructure, agriculture, medical technology, education, and increased
Venezuelan oil exports to China.