On behalf of the government of Venezuela, President Hugo Chávez reiterated his willingness to speak with the new President of the United States, Barack Obama, under a framework of respect and dialogue. The President made this statement while confirming that he will attend the 5th Americas Summit that will take place in April in Trinidad and Tobago.
“We are therefore willing to begin a process of becoming closer and taking positions any day. We only ask for respect for our country, our Constitution, our laws, our government and our people. Respect, nothing more, like any country. We are not asking for anything extraordinary from the government of the United States,” President Chávez said.
He indicated that “any day is favorable for speaking with President Barack Obama.” President Chávez also said that it is not necessary to wait for the Summit, because the dynamics of that meeting will likely not leave enough time for bilateral conversations.
The President made these remarks upon being asked about a possible rapprochement with his U.S. counterpart, regardless of accusations from intelligence agencies about the supposed collaboration of the government of Venezuela with the FARC and ties with Iran, during a press conference with international journalists in Ayacucho Hall of Miraflores Palace.
“The Venezuelan nation will continue to wait for good signs from the government of the United States, but without despair because the development of the country does not depend on good or bad relations with that administration,” he explained.
“We will continue to wait. Let us hope that what they call good signs will arrive. We affirmed our best willingness but we will not bow before anyone. We are not desperate for them to open their doors. Venezuela is independent. Our advancement does not depend on good or bad relations with the government of the United States,” President Chávez elaborated.
The President noted that one of the topics to be spoken about with his American counterpart is the extradition of the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, who took part in the dynamiting of a Cubana de Aviación airplane that killed over 72 people.
“The evidence is all there and requests for extradition have continued,” he said.
President Chávez expressed his desire for the new President of the United States to be able to “implement his intelligence and good ideas” in recognizing that if he succeeds he will face “horrific machinery full of assassins and patrons of war. It is a gigantic power that is not really in his hands.”
Nevertheless, the President extended his vote of confidence regarding the good intentions expressed by the U.S. government towards the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.
President Chávez reiterated that President Barack Obama should meet the high expectations of his people and indicated that he hopes the Obama Administration does not behave like the Bush Administration that continually assaulted the Venezuelan nation and people, including the financing of the 2002 coup.
“Let us hope Obama becomes and goes down in history as the American President who helped and managed to bring down the imperial machinery of war and death that is fully intact over there, for the benefit of humanity. We are willing to help,” President Chávez indicated.
Regarding his alleged collaboration with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), President Chávez assured that Colombian President Álvaro Uribe is aware that the accusation is completely false.
Regarding ties with Iran, the President said: “Venezuela is a bridge for hope, development and labor for those countries that want to work with us towards bilateral national economic development.”
Presidential Press, Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / February 14, 2009