[Marxism] President Chavez Tells US: "Get Your Hands Off Venezuela!"

David Quarter davidquarter at sympatico.ca
Fri Mar 5 16:22:28 MST 2004


[Forward from:  Rick Rozoff]

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=4508564

Reuters
March 5, 2004

Chavez Tells U.S.: 'Get Your Hands Off Venezuela!'
By Pascal Fletcher 

-Chavez...appealed to the international community to
condemn what he said was the second U.S. attempt in
two years to topple him. 
-"Mr Bush's government is financing this mad
opposition, I have quite a lot of evidence," Chavez
said. 



CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez told the United States on Friday to "get
its hands off Venezuela" as he accused Washington of
backing a wave of opposition protests seeking a recall
vote against him. 

Chavez, who sent troops onto the streets to control a
week of protests in which at least eight people were
killed, appealed to the international community to
condemn what he said was the second U.S. attempt in
two years to topple him. 

"In the name of the truth, I have to ask the
Washington government to get its hands off Venezuela,"
the left-wing leader told foreign ambassadors whom he
summoned to the presidential palace. 

U.S. Ambassador Charles Shapiro was not present and
was represented by his deputy. 

"Mr Bush's government is financing this mad
opposition, I have quite a lot of evidence," Chavez
said, without immediately giving details. He repeated
charges that Washington had backed an April 2002 coup
that briefly ousted him. 

President Bush's government has persistently denied
repeated accusations by the outspoken Venezuelan
president that it is trying to overthrow him. It says
Chavez's anti-U.S. rhetoric is an attempt to distract
attention from his domestic problems. 

Venezuela, the world's No. 5 oil exporter, is one of
the top four suppliers of petroleum to the United
states. The state oil firm PDVSA says its operations
and shipments have not been affected by the
anti-government protests. 

Opposition demonstrators, who accuse Chavez of
manipulating electoral officials to block a petition
for a referendum, took to the streets of Caracas and
other cities in the last week to set up burning
barricades and battle with troops. 

Opponents say Chavez, a former paratrooper elected in
1998, is ruling like a dictator. But the Populist
leader still enjoys support among Venezuela's poor. 

The disturbances have subsided in recent days,
although several hundred anti-Chavez demonstrators
marched in Caracas Friday to protest about opposition
supporters who were killed. 

Emergency service officials put the casualty toll so
far from the clashes at eight shot dead and 182
injured. But opposition leaders and local media say
the figure is higher.    

Both sides have accused each other of using firearms. 
Washington says it is worried about the violence in
Venezuela and supports the idea of a referendum to try
to solve the political conflict between followers and
foes of Chavez. 

In a move to prevent further deaths, Venezuela's
government on Friday suspended for nine days permits
allowing civilians to carry firearms. 

"What we want to do is preserve the security of
everyone," said Defense Minister Gen. Jorge Garcia. 

The suspension will remain in force until March 14. 

The opposition is planning another major protest march
on Saturday in Caracas. 

Many Venezuelans carry firearms and Garcia said those
caught carrying guns during the suspension could face
jail terms of between 3 and 4 years. 






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