Adamant: Hardest metal
Saturday, July 5, 2003

Letter to the editor: President Chavez Is Committed to Democracy

The Washington Post
Subscribe to The Post Tuesday, June 24, 2003; Page A20

The June 12 editorial "A Vote on Mr. Chavez" said that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez "continues to behave as if he has no intention of giving up his attempt to push through a quasi-totalitarian, quasi-socialist 'revolution,' regardless of what his people may want."

Mr. Chavez has no trepidation about allowing the people to decide through a recall referendum who their president should be. He has never tried to restrict the conditions of the referendum, and he has followed the guidelines for it outlined in Venezuela's constitution.

The Post mentioned various maneuvers to illustrate Mr. Chavez's reluctance to help those who oppose his government gather the signatures they need to trigger a recall referendum. But if the opposition fails to attract the number of signatures the constitution requires, it won't be the fault of the constitution -- or of Mr. Chavez. Implying that he should do more to help the opposition is like asking California Gov. Gray Davis to help Republicans with their recall petition in that state.

The Chavez administration is committed to democracy in Venezuela. Many factors are involved in our country's turmoil; The Post's simplistic and unreasoned argument does a disservice to its readership and to democracy itself.

BERNARDO ALVAREZ HERRERA
Ambassador
Embassy of Venezuela

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