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Ali Rodriguez Araque

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez condemned “hostile expressions” towards Venezuela by U.S. government spokespersons in the context of the diplomatic crisis the kidnapping of Colombian guerrilla member Rodrigo Granda in Caracas has caused.

Yesterday, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Richard Boucher urged Latin American countries to pressure Venezuela to end any relationship it might have with the Colombian guerrilla group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). “We certainly don’t think that FARC members should be allowed to roam around other places in other countries in the neighborhood with seeming impunity,” Boucher said. Venezuelan government officials have argued that guerrilla member Rodrigo Granda was not wanted by Interpol, and that Colombia has never requested his detention.

Minister Rodriguez’s response was made public through a statement released prior to his meeting with Colombia’s Foreign Minister Carolina Barco at the Latin American Foreign Ministers gathering in Lima, Peru, to be held this Thursday.

An inofficial translation of Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry’s statements is presented below:

Statement

During the last days there have been some hostile expressions by spokespersons of the U.S. government. As we have said before, for each of those expressions, there will be an answer. In Latin America, it is very well known the history of armed aggressions by different governments of the United States. Mexico, Guatemala, Grenada, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Panama are painful testimony of this unquestionable historical truth.

Generally, armed aggression, either direct or indirect, has been preceded by political campaigns designed to create the conditions for the attack. Before the April 2002 coup d’etat, and during the execution of the coup, spokespersons of the Bush administration made abundant statements similar to those now repeated by Ms. Rice, Mr. Ereli, Mr. Boucher, and sadly by the President of El Salvador, Antonio Saca. The U.S. authorities have called on others to pressure Venezuela to break its alleged links with the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC). [Salvadorian President] Saca, on the other hand, repeats statements attributed to the former leader of the U.S. Southern Command.

One does not require the most minimum political malice to understand two things:

First: That the government of President Bush, far from assimilating the impressive lessons of democracy that the Venezuelan people have given through nine electoral processes, and the defeat of the military and oil coup d’etats, insists on repeating its grave errors through its obscene intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela. Second: Not satisfied with its failed attempts inside of Venezuela, it pretends to interfere in problems that are only of the concern, in this case, of the governments of Colombia and Venezuela, with the fraternal help of the governments of the Latin American community, with the only one shameful exception before mentioned.

Venezuela and Colombia are sister countries. They have the maturity and criteria to resolve their differences among them, as they did before with the grave and famous incident of the Caldas military ship.

The attitude of all South American countries greatly contrast with the permanent interventionist and provoking attitude that violates the most elementary principles of international relations, through explicit pressure, not only over Venezuela, but over the countries of the Latin American community.

As expressed by Andean Community Secretary General Allan Wagner, “It is important that the United States observe non-interference in the process we are going through, so that the governments of Colombia and Venezuela can find in a fraternal way, the paths to a solution, with the collaboration that the Andean and Latin American countries can offer.”

Finally, the government of Venezuela reiterates to the U.S. government its will to maintain the best relations based on mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs, the end of the permanent harassment and of the financing of groups often linked to violent movements in Venezuela, and the end to attempts to provoke and aggravate differences between our countries, because for Venezuela ¡America(*) is the Fatherland!

(*) Editor’s note: Latin American countries call “America” what in the U.S. is referred to as “The Americas”