VIO News Blog

July 7, 2008

Chavez Meets With U.S. Rep to Appeal for Peace

Filed under: Daily News Roundup — VenWorld @ 9:38 am
Tags: , , , , ,

President Chavez met last week with U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy in Caracas to discuss cooperation between the countries. According to Bloomberg, the Venezuelan leader declared himself neutral in the upcoming presidential race in the U.S., saying “It doesn’t matter who wins as long as we can sit down to talk.” He also expressed a desire to return to cooperation on fighting drugs and crime, as before the U.S.-backed coup in 2002.

Late last week, the Colombian military staged what the AP calls a “mock humanitarian mission” to rescue 15 hostages held by the FARC. Among them were Ingrid Betancourt and three U.S. citizens (pictured at right). The mock mission, detailed in a Washington Post article, supplanted the successful authentic humanitarian effort by President Chavez that freed six captives earlier this year. The AP and the Financial Times report that the new move by the Colombian military has “sidelined” President Chavez, but in fact, Betancourt herself said upon being freed that Chavez and other leaders (like Correa in Ecuador) would be essential in brokering peace in Colombia.

The AP posits that relations between Colombia and Venezuela will likely improve, but wrongly credits President Uribe for this fact. A meeting this month between Uribe and Chavez will occur only at the behest of the Venezuelan leader. Colombian officials have not relented in their still unproven charge that Venezuela aided the FARC. Le Monde Diplomatique explores points out that news coverage has wrongly presumed Venezuela’s guilt and downplayed its humanitarian initiative in Colombia.

Meanwhile, the New York Times wrongly portrays relations between Brazil and Venezuela as cooling. Lula and Chavez, both at the helm of South America’s biggest economies, have consistently cooperated in issues that have grown to include defense and security. In addition to extensive bilateral accords, shared regional initiatives include the Bank of the South and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

Finally, CNN reports that Venezuela’s famed youth orchestra program has inspired similar anti-poverty education programs in Britain. The Venezuelan model is now being adopted in poor areas of the UK. CNN reports that “The Venezuelan project has been hugely helpful in reducing those kind of problems, and sav[ing] children who would have possibly died without it.”

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