WASHINGTON - Sen. Norm Coleman said Wednesday he hopes his upcoming meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will help to ease strained U.S.-Venezuela relations.
"There's been a lot of incendiary rhetoric between Venezuela and the U.S.," Coleman said in a telephone interview from Brazil, where he was on the third day of a six-day trip to South America. "Chavez has been democratically elected. I'm hopeful we can tone down the rhetoric and see if we can establish more productive relations."
Coleman, a Minnesota Republican who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, plans to have dinner with Chavez on Friday night.
Chavez, a leftist former paratroop commander, has accused the United States of playing a key role in a short-lived 2002 coup against him. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has denied that, and has expressed concerns that Chavez has become increasingly autocratic.
U.S. officials have also criticized Venezuela's plans to buy helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles from Russia. The United States is concerned that the weapons, or those they replace, could wind up in the hands of rebel groups fighting in Colombia.
Chavez refers to Rice as "Condolencia," and has called her "pathetic."
But there have been some easing of the verbal barbs lately. Rice told The Washington Post editorial board last week "we can have good relations with Venezuela at any time."
Quote:U.S. officials have also criticized Venezuela's plans to buy helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles from Russia. The United States is concerned that the weapons, or those they replace, could wind up in the hands of rebel groups fighting in Colombia.
The real threat, IMO, is that, while the Venezuelan army will have the new rifles, the old weapons will be given to Chavista support civil groups, who are organized militarily.
A scary thought. And a possible thing, too.
Condi Rice's odd concentration on Venezuela during her confirmation hearing suggested that maybe the administration is gearing up a PR campaign against Chavez. Though Chavez was democratically elected, and though he survived a recent nation-wide vote, the administration appears to be unhappy with certain socialist policies and ties to Cuba. Of course, Venezuela also has huge oil reserves.
Friends don't use a bundle of absolutes to tell friends they are full of s**t...Please don't make unfounded allegations about the millions of innocents that the US has allegedly killed.....give me a valid source for that accusation.
I don't consider "Z" magazine a valid source........are you one of the "move-on.org" distortion artists?
"Nationalism provides one clue to the difference between the strategy and philosophy of Clinton and those of George W. Bush and to the difference between an American approach which seeks legitimacy for American hegemony and one which makes a public cult of the unrestrained exercise of American will."
rayban is your own location known? I can't see it.
Anyway it's clear that the US is lining up Chavez for the oil. The process is just too transparent. Small wonder that Mugabe felt he could rig the elections and do his Dictator thing in Zimbabwe because it doesn't have oil. If it did I have no doubt that the White House would be lining him up for some serious treatment.
rayban is it necessary to live in a country to be able to critique its culture and in particular its foreign policy?
If it wasn't obvious Goodfielder, I'm a proud citizen of the USA. I really laugh at the plethora of conspiracy theories about OIL being our ONLY motive for taking any action.
It certainly isn't............as long as you have an "open mind" and are super critical of the information being presented. This "saying" is a little over the top but after 70 years of observing: I only believe about half of what I see and NOTHING of what I read.