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Montevideo, February 5th 2023 - 21:19 UTC



Shannon hopes for increased dialogue with Chavez

Monday, December 4th 2006 - 20:00 UTC
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United States Under Secretary for Latinamerica Thomas Shannon said he trusted Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez would show “more interest” in deepening the dialogue with Washington now that he has been re-elected by a comfortable majority.

"We don't want a confrontation relation with Venezuela, on the contrary", said Shannon in London where he addressed Canning House, also known as the House of Latinamerica in the United Kingdom.

"We've always looked for ways to deepen the dialogue with the government of President Chavez and our hopes are that, maybe, at this moment, he will show a greater interest. We're hopeful", he said. Shannon described Sunday's presidential election in Venezuela as "very important".

The ballot in which President Chavez was re-elected and defeated his main opponent Manuel Rosales were foremost a "clear democratic expression of the Venezuelan people", said Shannon. "We're waiting for the reports from the observers but it seems Hugo Chavez managed a landslide", he added. The latest vote count shows Chavez above 60% and Rosales scraping 40%.

However Shannon also pointed out that the opposition showed the capacity to mount an "impressive campaign" and garnered a significant percentage of the ballots. "This should help create an atmosphere where the different groups in Venezuela can really begin a reconciliation process and lower the level of obvious confrontation existent in the country. That is our hope", said Shannon. "Venezuela is a democratic country, a democracy with many challenges, defiance and problems but it's democratic", added Shannon who highlighted that the US commitment to the region is "with democracy and democratic governments". "It's the way leaders and parties have a commitment with democracy, and the way in which they want to have good relations with us, we don't care if they are left, right or center, as long as they keep to democratic governance". Washington's objective is to "consolidate democracy and ensure democracy is much more than the ballots, which it also reflects on the social and economic fields".

In related news US ambassador before United Nations John Bolton is to leave his post when his temporary appointment runs out.

Bolton was unable to win the necessary Senate support for him to continue. He took the UN seat last year during a Congressional holiday after his nomination stalled in the Senate, but with Congress dominated by Democrats the procedure cannot be repeated.

Mr Bolton's critics said a man who once declared there was "no such thing" as the UN was hardly a suitable choice to join the body.

But his admirers said he was a bright, hard-working realist, whose skepticism about the UN's role made him an ideal envoy.

Categories: Mercosur.

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