Venezuela Hopes to Normalize Relations with U.S. in Spite of Recent Criticisms

Venezuela's Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel, said his government wants to normalize relations with the U.S., even after recent criticisms of Venezuela coming from the U.S. government.

Venezuela Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel
Rangel described the recent U.S. Department of State spokesman’s statements on Venezuela as an “unacceptable interference”.
Credit: Venpres file

Caracas, Dec 17, 2004 ( Venezuela’s Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel, said his government has the intention of normalizing relations with the United States, even after recent criticisms of Venezuela coming from the U.S. government.

“We want to normalize relations with the United States. We are in the process of establishing clear rules to allow mutual understanding and dialogue,” Rangel said.

The U.S. Department of State spokesman said Wednesday that the U.S. government was troubled by Venezuela’s recent economic agreements with Cuba. “We are troubled that a country with a democratic tradition like Venezuela would want to strengthen its ties to the only undemocratic regime and closed economy in the hemisphere,” spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Rangel described Boucher’s statements as “an unacceptable interference,” adding that “Neither the United States nor any other country has to voice opinions on sovereign acts of Venezuela. We don’t get involved in the many errors, failures, and even some abnormalities in domestic policies of the United States. They do their politics in a sovereign manner, and we ask them to let Venezuelans do ours.”

Venezuela’s Vice Minister of Foreign Relation, Arevalo Mendez, gave little importance to Boucher’s statements.

Mendez and Rangel coincide on giving more importance to statements by the U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, who has vowed to lower the tone of the recent confrontations and promised to work on normalizing relations.

“I don’t pay attention to spokespersons from the White House or the U.S. State Department. I pay attention to what Ambassador Brownfield has to say as he is the official representative of the United States in Venezuela. I have met with him and I think we are pointing towards a framework of dialogue between the two nations that will benefit both countries,” Rangel said.

Venezuela’s Ambassador to the United States attributed Boucher’s statements to lobbying by anti-Fidel Castro groups in the state of Florida.

Venezuela-U.S. relations have deteriorated after reports of U.S. government support for a coup d’etat against President Hugo Chavez in 2002, and after the disclosure of documents describing economic support by the U.S. Congress-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for groups opposing the Venezuelan government.