|“We are interested in better relations in all aspects, but while these types of attitudes at institutions such as the U.S. Congress persist, we will not be making any progress,” said Venezuela Vice Minister of Foreign Relations Arevalo Mendez.|
Caracas, Venezuela. Jun 30 (Venezuelanalysis.com).- According to Venezuela Foreign Relations Vice Minister, Arevalo Mendez, Venezuela is very interested in strengthening its relations with the United States.
Mendez participated at a Venezuelan government cabinet meeting yesterday where international relations was the main topic. At the meeting, the ministers analyzed the recent U.S. Congress hearing on Venezuela’s political situation. According to Mendez, “contrary to what political factors who want to disturb peace in Venezuela, the reactions obtained there were not as favorable as they had hoped.”
Vice Minister Mendez said that initiatives such as the U.S. Congress hearing on the Venezuela political situation, don’t contribute to creating a peaceful climate in Venezuela, and don’t really add anything positive to U.S.-Venezuela relations. “The government of Venezuela criticizes those types of initiatives coming from any country and from any institution that attempts to interfere in our internal affairs,” he said.
“We are interested in better relations in all aspects, but while these types of attitudes at institutions such as the U.S. Congress persist, we will not be making any progress,” Mendez added.
Regarding the upcoming recall referenda against President Hugo Chavez and several opposition lawmakers, the Vice Minister said that such event is the exclusive pertinence of Venezuelans. The recall referenda was one of the main topics at the U.S. Senate hearing which took place on Thursday June 24th. Mendez said that the Venezuelan government rejects any discussion at the Congress of the United States or of any other country, with regard to Venezuelan recall process because “it is a matter inherent to our own particularities and or own needs of living in peace and democracy.”
Mendez said that the government of other countries with political influence in the Americas such as Canada, Argentina and Brazil, don’t hold congress hearings on the political situation of their neighbors because “it is something that is inconvenient, no matter what the outcome of those hearings is. It is just not convenient for the continent.”
Noriega and Nelson rejected
The statements made by the U.S. Sub-Secretary for Inter-American Affairs, Roger Noriega, and by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson at last Thursday’s U.S. Congress hearings, have been rejected by numerous Venezuelan government officials and political commentators.
On Thursday, Noriega expressed concerns about alleged politically motivated detentions, and condemned the recent indictment of two officials of the organization Sumate, who are charged with conspiracy and treason for accepting funding from the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to organize a petition drive to demand a recall referendum against President Chavez.
National Assembly Vice President Ricardo Gutierrez said that Noriega has made it into a habit to attack some Latin American countries such as Brazil, Cuba, and recently Argentina. “Here we have a new type of democracy that puts its citizens and social justice first,” said Gutierrez.
Gutierrez also criticized the statements made by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson during the hearings. “We have friends in the U.S. Congress who assert us that Mr. Nelson’s views do not reflect the views of the majority over there,” he said.
During the hearings, U.S. Senator Nelson accused the Venezuelan government of supporting and harboring Colombian guerrilla groups, and said to be worried about “reports of identification cards belonging to opposition members being confiscated by military forces in Venezuela to prevent them from voting,” reports which were disputed by Jennifer McCoy, a representative of the Carter Center which was part of the group of international observers present in Venezuela to oversee the recall process.
Venezuela’s National Assembly approved a document condemning “the statements made by Roger Noriega, and by extension, the Bush administration, which are contrary to the independence and self-determination of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.” The resolution also condemns the statements made by Secretary Noriega and Senator Nelson questioning the integrity of the Electoral Branch of the Venezuelan government. Lawmakers from a coalition of parties that support President Chavez, hold a slim majority in the Venezuela National Assembly. Lawmakers from opposition parties did not endorse the resolution. A special commission will travel to Washington in upcoming weeks to meet with U.S. government officials to discuss the matter.
Noheli Pocaterra, the National Assembly second Vice President, said that the statements made about Venezuela by U.S. government officials are “unacceptable”. Pocaterra asserted that statements such as those are the product of the intense work done by sectors of the opposition who seek foreign intervention in Venezuela.
At Thursday’s U.S. Senate hearing, Nelson accused the Venezuelan government of supporting and harboring Colombian guerrilla groups. He also said to be worried about “reports of identification cards belonging to opposition members being confiscated by military forces in Venezuela to prevent them from voting,” allegations that were disputed by Jennifer McCoy, a representative of the Carter Center present at the hearings. McCoy was part of the group of international observers present in Venezuela to oversee the recall process.
“We are fed up with Noriega”
Other comments by Secretary Noriega seem to be causing repercussions in other Latin American countries. Argentinean Foreign Relation Minister, Rafael Bielsa, also rejected comments made by Secretary Noriega about his country. “We are fed up with Noriega,” he said. According to a report by Argentine newspaper Pagina 12, Noriega said earlier this week that Argentina’s organized unemployed “piqueteros” (who frequently organize protests and road blockades) are sending that country into anarchy, and that Argentine President Kirchner is veering towards Chavism.
U.S. not intervening, Embassy says
Stephen McFarland, Deputy Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, said that the recall process is a matter of exclusive pertinence to the Venezuelan people. “All that the international community and the U.S. can do through international observers, is to ensure that the process is fair, transparent, constitutional, democratic, and in peace,” said McFarland after meeting with members of Venezuelan NGO “Journalists for the Truth”. The NGO visited the Embassy yesterday to turn in a document rejecting U.S. government intervention in Venezuela’s internal affairs.