Thursday, February 19, 2009

February 19, 2009 Washington's Praise of Venezuelan Vote Suggests Détente
"Praise by the U.S. State Department for Sunday's referendum in Venezuela suggests that President Barack Obama is hoping to ease long-strained relations with President Hugo Chávez, according to regional experts here.

ANTIWAR: While State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid Tuesday noted that Washington had received "troubling reports of intimidation," he added that, "for the most part, this was a process that was fully consistent with [the] democratic process."

Asked whether Washington approved of the poll's results – which changes the country's constitution to enable Chávez to run for a third term in 2012 – Duguid said the question "was a matter for the Venezuelan people."