Venezuela’s Vice-President Announces Dialogue Sessions with the U.S.

The dialogue sessions announced by Vice-President José Vicente Rangel would involve the U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela and would aim to resolve outstanding disputes between the two countries.

Caracas, Dec 20, 2004 ( Yesterday, Venezuela’s Vice-President, José Vicente Rangel, announced that representatives from the Venezuelan government and from the U.S. government would organize dialogue sessions in order to iron out differences that exist between the two governments. Exactly what issues would be discussed Rangel did not specify.

Rangel emphasized that the participation of the new U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, would be essential for the success of such talks. Rangel said, “As long as we can elucidate our differences democratically and civilly, there is no problem. Problems arise when U.S. State Department spokespersons of a second or third level make intemperate and inopportune statements.”

Last Thursday, Rangel dimissed comments by U.S. Department of State spokesman Richard Boucher , who criticzied Venezuela’s recent agreement with Cuba. “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,” Rangel said.

Rangel added that he believes that relations between the U.S. and Venezuela would improve in 2005, due to the clear interest on both sides to normalize relations. This has been especially true in the areas of oil policy and the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism.

Venezuela’s Ambassador to the U.S., Bernardo Alvarez, will play a pivotal role in this dialogue process.

For Rangel, Venezuela has, under Chavez, for the first time developed an independent foreign policy, which is being recognized as such throughout the world. “At last Venezuela has a multi-polar foreign policy aimed at seeking friends and points of agreement throughout the world with nations from Central America, the European Union, the Caribbean, Japan, China, India, Russia, and the United States, among others,” Rangel said.