|Venezuela’s Foreign Relations Minister Jesus Perez.|
Caracas, April 30, 2004 (Venezuelanalysis.com)—Yesterday, the U.S. State Department’s office on Counter-Terrorism released its “Patterns of Global Terrorism 2003” Annual Report. In it, the counterterrorism office says that Venezuela’s efforts to combat terrorism have been “inconsistent” and that President Chavez’s criticism of U.S. counterterrorism efforts “overshadow and detract from the limited cooperation that exists between specialists and technicians of the two nations.” The report also charges that, “Venezuela is unwilling or unable to systematically police the Venezuela-Colombia 1,400-mile border.”
Both Venezuela’s Embassy in the U.S. and Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jesus Perez immediately issued statements in which they denied the accusations. According to Foreign Minister Perez, “It’s the same old information, which I consider nonsense.” He added, “We are committed to fighting terrorism.”
The Venezuelan Embassy in the U.S. issued a statement, which highlights the work the Venezuelan government has done in the past few years in combating terrorism, which was largely omitted from the report. Among the areas of work that the embassy statement highlights is the extradition of Spanish separatist terrorists and the Venezuelan government’s signing of treaties to fight terrorism. The Embassy goes on to say that just because Venezuela criticizes U.S. interventionism, does not mean that it is opposed to fighting terrorism, as the State Department report suggests.
With regard to the patrolling of the Colombian-Venezuelan border, the Embassy states that it has “invested many of its own economic resources to deploy military forces and update its equipment for border control.” The statement also criticizes the report’s use of “unconfirmed press reports” for drawing conclusions on Venezuela’s cooperation with anti-terrorism efforts. According to the statement, it is “inconceivable” for a country with one of the world’s most powerful intelligence services in the world to rely on such sources.
U.S. Embassy officials in Caracas have on several occasions stated that cooperation between the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela and the Venezuelan government have been quite good.
- U.S. State Department’s “Patterns of Global Terrorism 2003” report
- Venezuelan Embassy’s statement on the U.S. State Department report