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Ali Rodriguez Araque

Venezuelan Foreign Relations Minister Ali Rodriguez responded to U.S. government “worries” about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, expressed by White House spokesman Scott McClellan at a press conference on Tuesday.

In response to a question about Venezuela, a topic now frequently mentioned at U.S. officials’ press conferences, McClellan said the U.S. government has “serious concerns.”

Minister Rodriguez responded by saying that many countries around the world have reasons to be concerned whenever the U.S. expresses worries about other countries.

“Speaking of worries, I think in the case of the United States, the worry is not only for Venezuelans but for many other countries in the world that have come to know the consequences of such concerns,” Rodriguez told reporters.

“These concerns have often served to attack in several manners, including armed violence, against many countries around the world, and without going too far, against Latin American countries, such as in the case of Guatemala, The Dominican Republic, and recently against Panama. There are many cases that have gone beyond mere concerns,” he added.

Minister Rodriguez highlighted the multiple electoral processes in which President Chavez, officials from parties that support him or his policies submitted for citizen approval through several referenda, have resulted victorious. “If it is related to the Venezuelan opposition movement, the concern of the U.S. surely should be about the people of Venezuela, who have defeated the opposition through nine electoral processes and have given a firm and growing support for President Chavez,” Rodriguez said.

“What U.S. officials should examine is the reasons for that constant support that is ratified every time there is an electoral event in Venezuela. When they do it, they will find that, for the first time in our country, the abundant resources that our country has are being oriented towards solving what constitutes the main enemy of our country, which is poverty,” he added.

McClellan also had reiterated the U.S. pressures to other Latin American countries to act against Venezuela. “We have made our concerns known when it comes to President Chavez. We have talked about our concerns with other leaders in the Americas. And we have made our views known in terms of the way he has treated the opposition in his country and the way he has treated the media in his country, as well, and we will continue to do so. We have serious concerns.”