Coro, June 29th 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – This Tuesday the Venezuelan National Assembly and the Foreign Relations Ministry rejected U.S. Congressman Connie Mack’s claims that Venezuela was a “state sponsor of terrorism”.
At a hearing of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee last Friday, Mack – one of Washington’s most outspoken critics of the Chávez government – described current restrictions against Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA as “toothless” and urged the Obama administration to impose further sanctions against Venezuela.
On inaugurating the hearing, entitled “Venezuela’s Sanctionable Activity”, U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz said the Venezuelan government is developing closer ties with “regimes that are openly hostile to the United States”.
During his opening speech Mack claimed that Venezuela was a “hub” of drug trafficking, corruption, money laundering and transhipment of illegal goods, and linked Venezuelan officials to “terrorist organisations” such as the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. The Congressman also alleged that Venezuela is actively supporting Iran’s “desire for nuclear weapons”. Mack did not provide evidence in support of these allegations.
Those at the hearing also proposed sanctions against Venezuelan airline CONVIASA on the basis that flights between Caracas and Tehran were allegedly carrying weapons for terrorists.
The National Assembly’s response to these accusations was approved by Venezuela’s United Socialist Party (PSUV) and the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV). The Assembly rejected the sanctions against CONVIASA and opposed Mack’s proposal that “Venezuela be classed as a terrorist state”.
“True terrorism is that which has been carried out by the U.S. government through its military invasions,” the legislative body stated.
The response also denounced the “systematic campaign” instigated by the U.S. to destabilise the Venezuelan government, and to alert the international community of U.S. plans to create a “record justifying a military attack on Venezuela in order to take control of its natural resources”.
Minister of Foreign Relations Nicolas Maduro also stated on Friday that Mack’s comments were “repugnant”.
“Unfortunately the Foreign Relations Committee for the House of Representatives is in the hands of a crazy fascist belonging to the U.S. extreme right-wing…A declining imperial power, like the U.S., with people of extreme opinions such as those, cannot dictate to Venezuelans who we can have relations with and who we cannot,” said Maduro.
“Any threat or sanction that the United States makes against Venezuela will further consolidate us, because our country is independent today and it will be forever,” Maduro continued.
The minority coalition of Venezuela’s conservative parties – the Table of Democratic Unity (MUD) – refused to ratify the response on the basis that it was “incomplete”. Hiram Gaviria of the opposition party UNT said that the agreement should also reject Venezuela’s strategic relationships with Iran, Cuba and China.