VIO News Blog

November 6, 2008

Chavez Government Affirms Committment to Better Relations with the United States

Messages of congratulations continue to roll in from around the world after Tuesday’s Obama victory in the U.S. elections. In a statement released yesterday, Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry called it a “historic election” and an “important victory.” According to the Caracas newspaper El Universal, the statement also reaffirmed the commitment of the Chavez government to building better ties with the U.S. It reads: “we are convinced that the time has come to establish a new relation between our countries and with our region based on the principles of respect for sovereignty, equality and real cooperation.”

An AP article on Venezuela’s congratulatory note to the Obama campaign cites divisive views among Venezuelan citizens, however, according to France24, “for all their differences, most Venezuelans interviewed expressed hope that Obama’s victory could re-open a dialogue between the United States and Latin America.”

In Latin America more broadly, Reuters and Bloomberg report that leaders are poised to begin a new era of diplomacy in the region. The presidents of Brazil and Bolivia, for example, are urging an Obama administration to lift the crippling embargo against Cuba. Experts, though, expect only modest changes, according to the BBC. While increased dialogue and multilateralism are expected under Obama, many wonder whether relations with the region will be prioritized in the coming years.

In economic news, Venezuelan officials announced plans yesterday to nationalize the country’s largest gold mine, called “Las Cristinas.” The AP reports that Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz said “Due to the financial crisis that has extended throughout the world, it’s necessary to attempt to recover our gold to increase our international reserves.” Until now, the Canadian firm Crystallex had exploited the mine.

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