Saturday, November 19, 2005

More From Mexican Neocon Lapdog

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 Mexico Ruling Party Head Says Chavez Embarrassment
Thu Nov 17, 2005 9:07 PM ET

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The head of Mexico's ruling party called Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez an embarrassment to his country on Thursday in a diplomatic fight over free trade in Latin America.

Mexico and Venezuela withdrew their ambassadors this week after angry exchanges over Mexico's support for U.S. plans to set up a regional free-trade pact. Chavez dubbed Mexican President Vicente Fox a U.S. imperialist "lap dog."

Manuel Espino, the head of Fox's National Action Party, said he asked a body that brings together some 30 conservative parties from the Americas to support the end of Chavez's government.

Espino said conservative parties in the region rejected "Chavez's shameful attitude which denigrates Latin American politics, embarrasses the Venezuelan people and attacks the sovereignty of the Mexican people."

He said the first step in Chavez's downfall should be the defeat of pro-Chavez candidates at parliamentary elections on Dec 4.

"I have asked the political parties to join in solidarity with the Venezuelan people to come together to weaken Hugo Chavez's authoritarianism in December and to change the government in Venezuela next year," Espino said.

His comments, in the northern city of Monterrey, were reported on the El Universal newspaper's Web site.

Venezuela holds a presidential election in December 2006, and Chavez, buoyed by soaring oil revenues and popular support, looks set to win.

Mexico has insisted that Caracas apologize for remarks by Chavez, who also told Fox last weekend, "Don't mess with me, mister, or you'll get stung."

The United States, the main foe of Chavez, says the Venezuelan leader is funding anti-democratic groups in the region, eroding human rights in Venezuela and building up his military unnecessarily.

Chavez denies the accusations. He taps into anti-American sentiment in the region by complaining U.S. President George W. Bush is a warmonger who is pushing free-trade economics so U.S. companies can dominate Latin American markets.

Washington on Thursday accused Chavez of making new enemies abroad to fire up supporters at home with demagoguery, such as saying Washington plans to invade his country.

Chavez's strategy is "based on confrontation and conflict, and in order to sustain it over time it requires an ever-increasing search for enemies," the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, Thomas Shannon, told lawmakers.


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