Powell lashes out at Venezuelan revolution

Jose G. Perez jgperez at netzero.net
Tue Feb 5 20:30:06 MST 2002

[With the increased class polarization in Venezuela, it was only a matter of
time before major spokespeople for U.S. imperialism launched a campaign
against the Bolivarian Revolution. It's not clear whether this is the
beginning of that campaign, or just a passing episode. The next few days
will tell -- if a campaign, we'll see it in the press, as administration
will informally steer news organizations to the story.]

*  *  *

Powell Voices Scorn for Hugo Chavez
Tue Feb 5, 4:56 PM ET
By GEORGE GEDDA, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed unhappiness Tuesday
with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, accusing him of being less than fully
supportive of the campaign against terrorism.

"We have expressed our disagreement on some of his policies directly to
him," Powell said. He added that Chavez is aware that his policies are a
"serious irritant" to U.S.-Venezuelan relations.

Powell offered his comments in response to a question from Sen. Jesse Helms,
R-N.C., during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

The secretary's remarks on Chavez's attitude toward terrorism apparently
stem from an incident last October in which Chavez, in a television
appearance, blasted the U.S. air war on Afghanistan as a "slaughter of

To drive home his point, he held up pictures of dead Afghan children, who he
said were victims of the military campaign.

The Bush administration showed its displeasure with Chavez by briefly
calling home the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, Donna Hrinak.

Powell also said Chavez has a habit of visiting "strange countries," an
apparent reference to his visit to Iraq in August 2000.

The visit was the first to Iraq by a foreign head of government since United
Nations sanctions were imposed against Iraq after its 1990 invasion of

Chavez also has visited Cuba and has established close ties with Cuban
President Fidel Castro.

"I'm not sure what inspiration he thinks he gets or what benefits he gets
for the Venezuela people, dropping in and visiting some of these despotic
regimes," Powell said.

Powell also questioned, without elaboration, Chavez's "understanding of what
the democratic system is all about."

Helms had asked Powell whether he was aware of reports that Chavez "was
consorting with narco-terrorists in Colombia." Helms said there is videotape
evidence of such contacts.

Powell said he was aware of the allegations but wants a complete analysis
before commenting.

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