|U.S. Congressman José Serrano urged respect for other nations’ self-determination.
Credit: Serrano website
Caracas, Jan 21, 2004 (Venezuelanalysis.com).- In a statement released in response to U.S. president George W. Bush’s inaugural address, U.S. Congressman José Serrano (D-NY) called on the controversial president to turn his rhetoric into reality by upholding his promise to respect the self-determination of nations with democratically-elected leaders around the world, whether or not their policies fall in line with Washington’s agenda.
“I hope that Condoleezza Rice, who recently attacked Venezuela during her confirmation hearings, reflects upon the President’s call for respecting other nations’ self-determination around the world,” says Serrano in his statement.
Serrano goes on to say that, the U.S. should not “bash democratically-elected leaders in our own [western] hemisphere while coddling dictators in the Middle East. Every time I turn around it seems Hugo Chavez is winning another election by vote margins far wider than anything George Bush ever received.”
Documents show that the Bush administration has provided monetary support for groups seeking to oust Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, and according to some reports, it provided support for a coup d’etat that briefly ousted Chávez in 2002.
The Statement in Full:
Serrano Calls on Administration to Heed President’s Soaring Inaugural Rhetoric on Social Issues, Venezuelan Democracy
Washington, DC, January 21 2005—Today, Congressman José E. Serrano (D-NY) issued the following statement:
“Yesterday, we celebrated democracy and our political process, and wished President Bush well on his inauguration. The election last year was a close-fought battle over ideas and vision, and Bush emerged victorious by a slim margin. But even in victory, George Bush has proven divisive. He was re-inaugurated with the lowest approval ratings for any president entering a second term since such ratings were first recorded. And despite talk about uniting the nation, some of his second-term cabinet and court appointments have raised questions about his commitment to governing for all Americans.
“I hope that he and his advisors pay heed to many of the stirring comments made yesterday in the inaugural address, and I call on them to protect our civil liberties, minority rights, and our nation’s commitment to social justice, while respecting democracy in places such as Venezuela.
“President Bush’s inaugural address was a fine speech of soaring and often inspiring rhetoric, particularly about the importance of defending democracy. The President said that ‘when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.’ I hope that Condoleeza Rice, who recently attacked Venezuela during her confirmation hearings, reflects upon the President’s call for respecting other nations’ self-determination around the world, and ensures that we don’t bash democratically-elected leaders in our own hemisphere while coddling dictators in the Middle East. Every time I turn around it seems Hugo Chavez is winning another election by vote margins far wider than anything George Bush ever received.
“The President also spoke about ‘the unfinished work of American freedom’ and spoke extensively about liberty. It is vitally important that the freedoms and liberties for which Americans have fought and died be respected and protected by our government. It is my hope that the administration will do a better job protecting our civil liberties than it did during its first four years in office. And along those lines, I would ask that it pay heed to the President’s comments that ‘we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time’ and do its utmost to protect and strengthen our civil rights laws and cease its baiting of certain minority communities, such as the gay community.
“The President also spoke of making our nation more ‘prosperous and just and equal’ and said that ‘in America’s ideal of freedom, the exercise of rights is ennobled by service and mercy and a heart for the weak.’ I would call on him to take his call for equality seriously and roll back his tax breaks for the wealthy and put more emphasis on policies that help those who really need help. If he really wants a more ‘just and equal’ society, he can not in good conscience continue to push for sweeping tax cuts for the wealthy, tax loopholes for mega-corporations, and more and more money for the war in Iraq while slashing Social Security, Medicaid, small business loan programs, and access to Section 8 housing.
“As a Democrat, I am keenly aware of the fact that half of the country was very troubled by President Bush’s first four years in office, and have deep concerns about his second term. We will remain vigilant, challenge the President, and hold him to the promise of much of what he said yesterday. The millions of Americans who supported us with their prayers and their votes deserve nothing less.”