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    Latin America: U.S. to Send Envoy for Counternarcotics Cooperation, Chavez Responds to Obama
    Posted on Friday, July 18 @ 17:47:49 UTC
    Topic: Barack Obama
    Barack ObamaJuly 18th 2008
    by Venezuelanalysis.com

    As a U.S. government official announced new negotiations over drug control cooperation, relations between President Chavez and U.S. Presidential nominee Barak Obama cooled when Obama called Venezuela “a destructive force” earlier this week.

    During a hearing at the U.S. Congress on Thursday, Thomas A. Shannon, the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, said that the Special Coordinator for Venezuelan Affairs, David Robinson, will be in Venezuela next week to explore renewed cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking.

    This move comes apparently as a result of a recent meeting Chavez had with the U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, Patrick Duddy, where Chavez expressed an interest in improving U.S.-Venezuela relations.

    “We have told Venezuela that we would like to explore this diplomatic opening. Cooperation in the counter-drug fight would be familiar ground for both governments, and would be well received in the region,” Shannon said during the hearing.

    Shannon interpreted this opening as a result of Venezuelan foreign policy having reached its “limit” of its international influence.

    However, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro reacted to Shannon’s remarks about Venezuela having reached its limit of influence by saying that it is the U.S. that has lost influence all around the world. “The contradictory expressions of Thomas Shannon express the political tragedy of the United States, which has lost all of its influence and capacity to dominate the region [of Latin America],” said Maduro.

    Reacting to Shannon’s other remarks, which portrayed poor U.S.-Venezuela relations as a result of Venezuelan anti-Americanism, Maduro said, “They pretend, being the victimizers, to be the victims.”

    Maduro, though, also expressed hope that U.S. –Venezuela relations could take a turn for the better, following the U.S. presidential elections later this year.

    “We are betting on strengthening our continent, always with the disposition to advance in a respectful dialogue with the people that govern the United States of America, something that has not been possible with the ominous, war-mongering, and failed government of George W. Bush.”

    Chavez Responds to Obama

    While Maduro and Shannon were expressing their views on U.S.-Venezuela relations, the probable Democratic party nominee for U.S. President, Barak Obama and Venezuelan President Chavez had their own media exchange.

    Earlier in the week, in an interview with the Spanish news agency EFE, Barak Obama said that he believed Venezuela “is a destructive force in the region” because of its alleged support for the Colombian guerilla group, the FARC, its “anti-democratic practices,” and its “incendiary rhetoric” against the U.S. Despite this, said Obama, he would still support a dialogue with the Venezuelan government.

    Chavez responded angrily to Obama’s comments, someone who he previously seemed to believe would take a different line with regard to Venezuela, saying that Obama is “dynamiting” any possible dialogue between Venezuela, Cuba, and the rest of Latin America.

    “The gentleman [Obama] said he would review U.S. policy towards Latin America, but applying a policy of a carrot and stick. Well, gentleman, go study what is happening in Latin America because, if he hasn’t understood that, what there is, is a revolution unleashed,” said Chavez during a gathering with members of his United Socialist Party of Venezuela.

    “[Obama] said that Chavez is a destroyer, something like that, of South America, but the destroyer is the empire, which he too represents,” added Chavez.

    Chavez then went on to say that no one should “have illusions” should Obama win the U.S. presidential elections because he will represent the empire, no matter how much he tries to present himself as an agent of change.

    Reproduced from: www.venezuelanalysis.com

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