Pro-Chavez Remarks Anger President's Foe: Claims Americans Provide Political Cover

By Carter, Tom | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 4, 1999 | Go to article overview

Pro-Chavez Remarks Anger President's Foe: Claims Americans Provide Political Cover


Carter, Tom, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


The runner-up in last year's Venezuelan presidential campaign said yesterday that President Hugo Chavez is "flagrantly violating the constitution" and leading his county "toward dictatorship."

He added that recent remarks by visiting U.S. congressmen and American business interests were giving Mr. Chavez political cover, while hobbling the political opposition.

"There are some elements in the United States engaged in wishful thinking," said Henrique Salas Romer, who won 40 percent of the vote in Venezuela's December 1998 presidential elections. "I ask those people to be more careful in their comments - we are in a fight for our liberty and our freedom."

Speaking at an International Republican Institute luncheon, Mr. Salas said the time had come to speak out against Mr. Chavez's revolution that recently shut down Venezuela's congress.

Both lawmakers and assembly delegates said yesterday they were negotiating an agreement that would allow the congress to exist in some form while the new constitution is being written. But there was no word on whether those talks, which have recessed until Monday, would bear fruit.

Mr. Salas said that the lack of an international outrage over the closing in late August, coupled with remarks by visiting U. …

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