June 13, 2005

Chavez On The Record

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On June 8, I posted the comments of US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roger Noriega, which he made at the OAS meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. Noriega blamed the crisis in Bolivia on Chavez's alleged support for the opposition.

Well, now it is Chavez's turn to answer. This time, he took the opportunity to answer in his weekly radio program, Alo presidente. During the program, which a report from the BBC says it lasted seven hours, Chavez called the Bush administration's policies for a regional free trade agreement for Latin America a "medicine for death". The BBC reports:

During his (Chavez's radio program) programme on Sunday, which lasted more than seven hours, Mr Chavez said Latin American countries were moving towards socialist economic models instead of US-style capitalism.

He said Mr Bush's idea for a hemisphere-wide free trade zone, mooted last week at a meeting of the Organisation of American States in Florida, would lead to more poverty and protests in the region.

"We say no Mr Bush, no sir... I'm sorry for you," he said. "The people of Latin America are saying 'no' to you, Mr Danger, they are saying no to your medicine.

"Capitalism is the road to destabilisation, violence and war between brothers."

This latest comments come on the back of a 10 day truce declared by the social movements in Bolivia, to give the new government time to consider nationalizing the natural gas resources. The new government, headed by former president of the Supreme Court, Eduardo Rodriguez, is in the process of organizing itself, but has already entered into nagotiations with the radical activists in El Alto (FEJUVE and COR-El Alto). The latter have not agreed to the truce but vow to continue their push for the nationalization of the resources.