Tags: US | Chavez | repression | warning

U.S. Sternly Warns Chavez on Repression

Friday, 05 Feb 2010 09:45 AM

BRASILIA – The United States fired a warning to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Thursday, telling him to not repress his people and to accept dialogue in his moment of "crisis."

"Our message to the government of Venezuela would be: 'Do not repress, rather give room to your own Venezuelan people and listen to them'," Tom Shannon, a former top State Department official who on Wednesday officially became US ambassador to Brazil, told a news conference here.

"Venezuela is going through a difficult time. From our point of view, it's important in a time of political crisis to open a political space to all the people and all Venezuelan citizens," he said, speaking in Portuguese.

Shannon, who until recently was US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs in the State Department, was referring to anti- and pro-Chavez demonstrations in Venezuela, and Venezuela's recent decision to pull the plug on several opposition television stations.

On Thursday, more than 5,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Caracas to mark the anniversary of a 1992 failed coup led by Chavez, who in 1998 was elected Venezuela's president.

A parallel, anti-Chavez student rally took place at the same time in the city with protesters unhappy over the leftwing president's 11-year rule.

Chavez, 55, on Tuesday vowed he would stay in office for another 11 years.

"I promise I'll take care of myself a little better and, if you like, in 11 years I'll be 66 -- God willing -- with 22 years as president," Chavez told a cheering crowd of supporters.

Speaking about his job as ambassador to Brazil, Shannon said he would work to resolve several points of friction in Washington-Brasilia relations.

On Brazil's friendly ties with US arch-foe Iran, he said: "If Brazil and other countries want to communicate directly (with Iran), that's a good thing.

"But all countries -- I'm also speaking of the United States -- have to measure the effectiveness of our diplomacy on the basis of results."

He added that "at the moment" it appeared Iran was not interested in dialogue on the contentious issue of its nuclear energy program, which Washington fears is a cover to build atomic weapons.

Shannon also said negotiations were underway to determine how Brazil would apply 830 million dollars a year in trade penalties on US goods and services under a World Trade Organization ruling against US cotton subsidies.

He admitted the talks were "delicate" but said both sides wanted "a solution that avoided the need for retaliation, because retaliation always provokes retaliation."

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BRASILIA – The United States fired a warning to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Thursday, telling him to not repress his people and to accept dialogue in his moment of "crisis."
US,Chavez,repression,warning
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2010-45-05
Friday, 05 Feb 2010 09:45 AM
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