Daily Press Briefing
Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 7, 2004


14    Supporting Constitutional Expression / Venezuelan Ambassador Comments

QUESTION: A question on Venezuela. The Foreign Minister has announced that they are lodging a strong protest of the American Government for its alleged intervention in Venezuelan politics, financing of subversive groups, et cetera. Will that protest be answered? And if so, how?

MR. ERELI: Well, first let's see what it is. Second of all, I think we've spoken to this pretty clearly, pretty publicly, pretty consistently over time, in which we've rejected accusations of interference and we have restated our policy of supporting peaceful, transparent, constitutional expression of political views and political rights in Venezuela, and that we around the world support NGOs and other groups regardless of -- irrespective of party or affiliation that are committed to those principles.

That's not interference. That's supporting democracy. We do it around the world, including in Venezuela. We're open about it and we're proud of it.


QUESTION: Another question on that subject, please. There was a strong session in the OAS last week in which the Venezuelan Ambassador used quite vitriolic language, the kind of thing that's probably going to be in the protest. And according to the -- I read The Washington Post report this morning, and it sounded like he got some support from other Latin American states.

In any case, whether that's right or wrong, it's being booted around in diplomatic circles that the U.S. is not invoking the Charter of the Americas because it doesn't have support in Latin America. Can you comment on that?


(The briefing was concluded at 1:55 p.m.)
DPB # 54