CARACAS, March 15 (Xinhuanet) -- The Venezuelan government said on Wednesday
that U.S. Latin America policy has been militarized, responding to a U.S. army
statement which described Venezuela as "a destabilizing influence" on the
The remarks, made by Bantz Craddock, chief of the U.S. Southern Command,
"constitute one more sign of the militarization of U.S. government policy
towards Latin America as a whole and towards Venezuela in particular," Jose
Vicente Rangel, the country's vice-president, told reporters on Wednesday.
"These U.S. commentators are not White House officials, or State Department
officials, but from the Defense Department, and from the intelligence services,"
He said that it was worrisome that such people, who should be concerned
about the grave situation in Iraq and other such nations,were now focusing on
Rangel described them as "layabouts," adding that U.S. military involvement
confirmed what Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had said about the permanent
threat of U.S. aggression against the country.
Relations between Venezuela and the United States turned sour seven years
ago, when Chavez took power and began accusing Washington of attempting to
invade and destabilize Venezuela.
The United States has repeatedly denied such accusations, and the U.S.
ambassador in Caracas has said that the U.S. top officials would like to talk to
their Venezuelan counterparts to improve bilateral relations. Enditem