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John Kerry on Venezuela "Chavez is fast on the road to dictatorship"

MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 5, 2004--

Jorge Ramos and Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry Discuss Iraqi Prisoner Treatment, the Iraq War, Immigration, Cuba and Venezuela.

"They are very, very disturbing. I think its going to create enormous difficulties for our objectives in the region and I believe that the Pentagon needs to be accountable," Senator John Kerry told Univision anchor Jorge Ramos in his first one-on-one nationally televised interview with a Spanish-language television network, when asked if he had seen pictures of the Iraqi soldiers being tortured and humiliated by American soldiers.

"Someone has to accept responsibility and apologize for what happened. I think we need to get all the facts, let the facts be known to the world and deal with them appropriately," said Kerry regarding the Bush administration stopping short of apologizing to the Arab world regarding the treatment of some Iraqi prisoners.

When asked if the war in Iraq was a mistake, Kerry said, "I think the way the President went to war is a huge mistake. I think (he) rushed to war without a plan to win the peace. (He) didn't listen to his own advisors, he didn't listen to many of us who cautioned against going almost alone." "And I think we are paying a very big price for it now," he added.

Discussing other issues also important to Hispanic America, Ramos brought up Kerry's proposed earned legalization program for undocumented immigrants. When asked if he simply refused to use the word amnesty, Kerry said, "I support what it is. You can call it what you want to. It is going to help people to be able to become citizens and come out of the shadows."

When Ramos asked Kerry if he supported the embargo against Cuba, Kerry responded, "Yes I do. I support it." And when asked if Americans should have the right to travel, without restriction, to the island, Kerry said, "I think that would help. I think that would help change Cuba."

Ramos asked Kerry if he thought that Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez was a dictator and Kerry responded, "Chavez is fast on the road of becoming exactly that. He is breaking the rules of democracy. I think it is very important for him to allow that referendum to take place and for this administration and others to put more visibility on what is happening so we can hold him accountable to international standards of behavior. Democracy is at risk."

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