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Chávez' impasse with Chile has hidden intentions

El Universal (10.12.03) - The Venezuelan President’s support to Bolivia is reportedly not sincere - he is just afraid of a recall vote that may put an early end to his term in office.

Socialist Senator Ricardo Núñez, president of the Chilean Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, has stated that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is trying to force a rupture in his country's diplomatic relations with Santiago, Chilean journals reported on Tuesday as quoted by news agency Dpa.

Núñez, who was one of the informal channels the Chilean government had used to unlock an impasse with the Venezuelan administration, said "the verbal excesses from Hugo Chávez are leading to a complex situation. He is making a very serious mistake. He is mocking our transition."

According to Núñez, Chávez' expressions are a demonstration of "diplomatic ignorance and arrogance" for "a real President is very careful not to interfere with the domestic affairs of every country."

In the Ibero American Summit held recently in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Chávez claimed he supported Bolivia's demand to have an access to the sea. He reiterated his opinion in October. Subsequently, Chile recalled his ambassador in Caracas, Fabio Vío, and Venezuela responded by recalling his diplomatic representative in Santiago.

Despite the impasse, Núñez supports the idea that Chile has to continue fostering informal meeting with Venezuelan government officials so that Vío may return to Caracas.

Núñez did not rule out the possibility that the Foreign Affairs Committee he heads may invite the Chilean Foreign Affairs Minister, Soledad Alvear, to discuss the deadlock with Venezuela.

"Please, tell the truth. You (Chile) took Bolivia's sea away in a war. And now the Chilean oligarchs are telling a different story: the Chilean model and the economic success of Chile," Chávez said on Sunday during his weekly radio and TV show, "¡Aló, Presidente!".

On Monday, the Chilean government once again declined to comment on Chávez' remarks, Núñez said he suspected that Chávez has an interest in provoking a rupture in the relations with Chile, in order "to hide the domestic problems" he is facing in Venezuela, Chilean journal "La Tercera" reported.

Núñez' view concurs with that of Chilean author and journalist Álvaro Vargas Llosa, who wrote in a Chilean newspaper that Chávez is not supporting Bolivia sincerely, but he is afraid of a recall vote that may put an early end to his term in office.

Translated by Maryflor Suárez


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