Thursday, December 15, 2005
CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - The United States urged Venezuela on Thursday to tone down harsh attacks on President George W. Bush to improve frayed relations between Washington and a key oil supplier.
Left-wing President Hugo Chavez has become Bush's most vocal critic in South America and often refers to his U.S. counterpart as "Mr Danger" or "terrorist" to criticize what he brands as Washington's imperialist foreign policies.
"Perhaps we can tone down the rhetoric a little in 2006, I hope we can pass 12 months without hearing the words Mr Danger or assassin or terrorist," said William Brownfield, U.S. Ambassador to Caracas, listing remarks Chavez, government officials and lawmakers have brandished to attack Bush.
"We're going to keep concentrating and focusing on the serious elements of this bilateral relationship, one that is important," he told Globovision television in an interview.
Is this an attempt to build better relations or are the verbal jabs reaching thier mark? Some have stated that there is an apparent discrepancy between the Venezuelan anti-US rhetoric and its business dealings, in particular the sale of petroleum to the US. It is interesting to note that while these detractors think they have a basis for citing the Venezuelan Governments dual standards, it is in fact, the opposite that remains true.
The US will ensure its energy resource consumption by any means available. The means available to it at the present time mandate that it keep a military distance from Venezuela, due to its "obligations" elsewhere. That does not preclude non-military actions, in the effort to create favorable conditions where it can. Given the self-thrashing the opposition has imposed on itself in the last elections, and the acknowledgement of observers that saw through the oppositions ill attempts to cast doubt on the democratic process, do we see a softening of the US stance on Venezuelan - US economic ties.
Petroleum will be sold! Be it to the US or elsewhere. It makes economic sense to cut costs and sell to a buyer that is logistically closer. Given this light, and the statements by the US ambassador, it stands to reason that it is the US who has more to lose by a break in ties than it does for the the Venezuelan government. Therefore Mr. Brownfield will have to put up with calls from the US state dept., asking to mend relations despite Chavez' free reign on calling Mr. Bush exactly what he is, all done in good democratic fashion to the dislike of the democracy pusher.