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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07CARACAS502 2007-03-08 15:01:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Caracas
Cable title:  

VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT DECLARES THE PRESIDENT

Tags:   PREL PGOV KDEM VE 
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1. (C) The National Assembly criticized the President's
upcoming trip to Latin America by unanimously adopting a
resolution on March 6 that declares the President "persona
non-grata" in Latin America and rejects any attempts by him
to thwart regional integration and counter Venezuela. Senior
Venezuelan officials are characterizing the trip as an
attempt to isolate Venezuela in the region as well as an
arrogant show of imperialism to "deceive" and "further
subjugate the people." President Chavez also lashed out at
the President's March 5 comments drawing similarities between
George Washington and Simon Bolivar. End Summary.



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National Assembly Resolution Against the President's Trip


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2. (U) On March 6 the National Assembly (NA) passed a
resolution presented by NA Deputy Aurora Morales (Fifth
Republic Movement (MVR)- Miranda) rejecting the President's
trip to Latin America. Specifically the NA agreed to:

-- Reject any interference ("injerencia") and pressure that
is directed at disrupting the advances Latin American people
and their sovereign governments have made toward economic,
social, cultural, and scientific integration, or those
related to deepening democracy, strengthening citizen
participation in public affairs, and self-determination.

-- Reject any pretense to isolate the Bolivarian Republic of
Venezuela or President Hugo Chavez through this trip and
convoke the people to be alert and mobilized before the new
manipulations of the "Empire."

-- Consider the President Persona Non-Grata in Latin America.



3. (U) The discussion on the resolution afforded Assembly
members the opportunity to bring out a number of well-worn
anti-American themes, including condemnation of the history
of U.S. intervention in the region, and calls for the
withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and ending the embargo on
Cuba. Several NA deputies suggested that if the USG were
serious about working with the region, it would extradite
Luis Posada Carriles and free the five convicted Cuban spies
incarcerated in federal penitentiaries. There were also
several suggestions for local demonstrations on March 8 and 9
to protest the trip. El Nacional has subsequently reported
that National Assembly deputy Marelis Perez Marcano
(MVR-Monagas) has announced a march to the Ministry of
People's Power for Information and Communication to protest
the President's trip as well as Radio Caracas Television
(RCTV) programming deemed "offensive" to women. A number of
other pro-Chavez groups have announced anti-trip rallies and
marches for March 8 and 12 as well.



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Washington-Bolivar Parallels Anger Chavez


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4. (SBU) Chavez continues to comment on the President's
upcoming trip almost daily (Ref A) and was particularly
perturbed by the President's March 5 Washington speech to the
Hispanic Chamber linking George Washington and Simon Bolivar.
During his March 6 "Alo Presidente" show, a clearly annoyed
Chavez alternated between sarcasm and vitriol, joking at one
point that since "Bush is now a Bolivarian, (he) would send
him a red beret" (a common symbol of Chavez supporters). He
also said the President's remarks were a "slap in the face,"
"showed a great cynicism, and reflected a profound ignorance
of the reality that (Latin) American people live." He
responded with "Bush Go Home!" to the President, whom he also
called the "king of cynicism, king of lies, and a man of
war." Chavez also called on the President to withdraw from
Iraq and not to "disrespect" the people of Latin America.



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Comment


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CARACAS 00000502 002.2 OF 002





5. (C) By giving Chavez the authority to usurp their
legislative function for the next 18 months through ruling by
decree, the National Assembly is largely relegated to passing
non-binding anti-US resolutions. It is ironic that a
government that criticizes the United States for its
"imperialist tendency" of pretending to speak for the region,
has now taken the same liberty by declaring Bush persona non
grata in all of Latin America. Chavez' thin-skinned response
to the President's references to Simon Bolivar and the U.S.
social agenda in Latin America underscore Chavez'
hypersensitivity--and vulnerability--to U.S. comments on
themes that he has made part and parcel of Bolivarian
mythology.


BROWNFIELD