Cablegate: Hugo Chavez' May 9 Alo Presidente Speech

Published: Wed 19 May 2004 11:42 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
1. The following is a summary of Venezuelan president
Hugo Chavez' May 9 Alo Presidente program. Chavez'
marathon speeches, of three to five hours, increasingly
contain accusations of U.S. interference in domestic
affairs and conspiracy to overthrow his government. This
191st Alo Presidente was delivered at the Barinas
Maternity Hospital in Barinas, Barinas state. Topics
included U.S./Venezuelan relations, in particular, the
Iraqi prisoner scandal and U.S. government policy on
Cuba. Other topics were the capture of paramilitaries on
Roberto Alonso's hacienda; the "enemies of the state,"
including broadcast and print media outlets Globovision,
Venevision, RCTV, "El Nacional," and "El Universal;" and
the inauguration of the Barinas hospital.
Iraqi Prisoner Scandal
2. "Venezuela condemns the United States Government for
the violations of human rights in Iraq," said Chavez. He
called the photos of American soldiers abusing the human
rights of the Iraqi prisoners "heinous" and "savage" and
asked the international community to judge President
George W. Bush's "anti-terrorist war."
"This is called terrorism and, even more, savagery," said
President Chavez when he showed the photos of a pile of
naked Iraqis before American soldiers in a prison in
"It is an aberrant thing, they are piled up naked, as if
it were a sexual witches' Sabbath, and a woman soldier
was enjoying it. That is a sick woman," said Chavez.
"They will be accountable for these war crimes and, also,
for these heinous photos. Let the world be the judge!
This is Mr. Bush's war. These are not rumors, these are
photos of smiling faces of the American soldiers," he
The President stated that the photos have not only
provoked outrage in the Arab world, but also "in the
entire world, because we, most human beings, are neither
sick nor inhumane."
Chavez also said that the abuses of the Iraqi prisoners
represent a "reason" why the "U.S. government did not
want to sign the Rome Statute...through which war crimes
and crimes against humanity are punished."
The President also accused the Venezuelan media of not
releasing the abuses of the Iraqi prisoners. "They don't
want to mess with their masters because those media
outlets are paid by them and they totally serve the
U.S., No; Cuba, Yes
3. Cuba: On behalf of the Venezuelan government and
people, Chavez rejected with "firmness, courage and Latin
American fraternity" the hardening of the U.S.
administration's strategy, led by George W. Bush, on
"How does the U.S. government morally condemn Cuba for
violating human rights?" asks Chavez, reaffirming his
"support" to the Havana government. "We regret that
there are governments of this hemisphere that subject
themselves to the strategy of the empire, as Fidel Castro
said on May 1," said Chavez.
"What Fidel says is true. There are governments that
submit themselves to the strategies of the United States
. . . sometimes because they are pressured, because they
depend on an IMF loan or because they want to be
praised," said Chavez. "They want to condemn Cuba for
alleged violations of human rights, but nobody condemns
the United States for its violations of human rights in
Iraq," commented Chavez, again referring to the recent
photos of Iraqi prisoners being tortured by American
soldiers, which he termed "a horrendous act."
Chavez said that Cuba asked the very same United Nations
Human Rights Commission that condemned the island as a
result of pressure from the United States to investigate
the violations the U.S. commits on its base located in
Guantanamo, Cuban territory, for example, the
disappearance of prisoners. However, due to this UN
organ's failure to act, the Caribbean country decided to
withdraw the request.
"Washington's imperial government once again threatens
the sovereignty of Cuba, through, for instance, the
intervention of its communications, of the broadcast of
Radio Marti, instigating the overthrow and murder of its
president, Fidel Castro. This is State terrorism."
Chavez also said that the U.S. restriction on the number
of resident Cubans in the country traveling to Cuba and
on the resources they may send to their family members
illustrates the new momentum in Bush's anti-Cuban
4. United States. Conditions in the United States
should not permit the United States government to
criticize others: 8 million children without social
Chavez scoffed at the U.S. offer, that were a transition
government be established in Cuba - something he thinks
would be impossible - it would help vaccinate Cuban poor
children. He suggested Bush should start that
vaccination drive with his country's poor children, since
the public health on the Caribbean island has progressed
significantly. "According to recent figures, at least
eight million American children are out of the country's
health system and social security," Chavez claimed.
Chavez deplored the fact that some countries of the
region submit to imperialistic plans like this one and
that they don't raise their voices to condemn the
atrocities the U.S. commits in Iraq.
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