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by KERRY SUCKS!
Wednesday, Mar. 24, 2004 at 2:39 AM
presidential candidate John Kerry has attacked
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a dubious democrat hostile to U.S. interests, delivering a slap in the face to the leftist leader who had portrayed Kerry as a potential friend.
Kerry Attacks Venezuela's Chavez
Mon Mar 22, 2004 06:33 PM ET
By Pascal Fletcher
CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic
presidential candidate John Kerry has attacked
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a dubious democrat
hostile to U.S. interests, delivering a slap in the
face to the leftist leader who had portrayed Kerry as
a potential friend.
The Kerry statement on his Web site made front-page
news in Venezuela on Monday, nearly two weeks after
Chavez had publicly praised the Democrat contender,
hailing his health care plans and likening him to
assassinated U.S. President John Kennedy.
In his declaration dated March 19, the Massachusetts
senator accused Chavez of undermining Venezuela's
democracy, supporting Colombian rebels and
"narco-terrorists" and trying to torpedo a
constitutional bid by foes to hold a referendum on his
Condemning Chavez's policies as "detrimental to our
interests," Kerry said the United States should lead
international pressure to persuade him to allow a
Venezuelan officials did not immediately respond.
Political analysts said the harsh condemnation of the
populist Venezuelan leader aimed to tell him he should
not consider Kerry an ideological soul mate united
through their opposition to President Bush.
"This gives no reassurance to Chavez. I don't think
he's going to find a lot of sympathy from Kerry and
the statement makes that clear," said Michael Shifter
of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think
Relations between Venezuela, the world's No. 5 oil
exporter, and its main petroleum client have been
strained by Bush administration criticism of Chavez's
self-styled "revolution," his friendship with Cuba's
Communist President Fidel Castro and his resistance to
the referendum challenge.
Chavez, a former paratrooper elected in 1998, has
repeatedly condemned Bush's trade and foreign policies
as "imperialist" and accused the U.S. government of
trying to topple him, a charge denied by Washington.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jesus Perez said in an
interview published on Monday his country's relations
with the United States could not be worse and would
improve if Bush lost the November election.
Perez told El Universal newspaper Bush was to blame
for the tense ties "because of his hostile
But Kerry's declaration firmly quashed Chavez's
apparent hopes of a more friendly U.S. policy if Kerry
won in November.
"It separates his image from that of Chavez, and it's
not just a distancing, it's a clear break," said
Venezuelan political analyst and author Alberto
Analysts said Kerry's criticism went well beyond a
U.S. campaign tactic to win votes in key states like
Florida, where anti-Castro and anti-Chavez sentiment
is strong among exiled Cubans and Venezuelans.
Kerry said Chavez's "close relationship with Fidel
Castro has raised serious questions about his
commitment to leading a truly democratic government."
But his statement also chided the Bush administration
for sending "mixed signals by supporting undemocratic
processes in our own hemisphere," saying it had
"acquiesced" to a brief 2002 coup against Chavez.
Washington denies it was involved in the coup.
"Kerry is saying there is a lot at stake in Venezuela
and that we need to be engaged and firm. He's trying
to show he's not a wimpy democrat, that he's a
tough-minded, hard-headed guy," Shifter said.
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