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Chavez rejects Clinton’s threat over Iran ties


After US secretary of state expressed concern over consequences of Iran’s close ties with Latin American countries, Venezuela condemns Hillary Clinton’s remarks as an “imperial offensive.”

“Mrs Clinton’s statements (are) like a threat above all against Venezuela and Bolivia… They are the clear signs of an imperial offensive seeking to stop the advancement of progressive forces, and regain its back yard,” Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the most outspoken US critic in Latin America, told reporters in Havana.

“It’s an overt threat. Her declarations are like a threat, especially at Venezuela and Bolivia,” he added.

Chavez, who was speaking at an ALBA summit, said that Clinton’s words were a clear sign that the US is seeking to stop the advancement of progressive nations.

In a veiled reference to Iran’s business partners in Latin America, including Brazil, Venezuela and Bolivia, Clinton on Friday warned that having close ties with Iran would have inevitable consequences.

“We can only say that is a really bad idea for the countries involved,” said the former first lady. “If people want to flirt with Iran, they should take a look at what the consequences might well be for them. And we hope that they will think twice,” she said during a question-and-answer session at the State Department.

In a sign of Iran’s close relations with Latin American states, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went on several official trips to such countries, including Brazil, Bolivia and Venezuela in November.

During his visits, Ahmadinejad signed a number of agreements with Latin American leaders to launch joint projects.

Obama letter

US president Barack Obama whose country has already had tense relationships with Brazil over a number of issues including US military presence in Colombia wrote a letter to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on 24 November reiterating US position over Iran’s nuclear program and indirectly expressing his discontent with President Ahmadinejad’s trip.

A day after receiving the letter, the Brazilian president once again defended Tehran’s right to develop its nuclear technology just as Brasilia has been doing, The New York Times reported.

US interference in LatAm affairs

This is while Washington’s long-standing interference in Latin America has had far greater consequences.

The Brazilian president recently called on the US to develop fresh ties based on a “vision of partnership and not interference, of contribution and not intervention” with Latin American countries.

The United States, discontent with the rise of socialist and leftist governments in its so-called strategic backyard, has a long history of interference in Latin American affairs.

In 1954, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) organized a covert intervention to oust the democratically-elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman.

Seven years later CIA planned, financed and executed an assault on Cuba known as The Bay of Pigs Invasion, designed to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro.

More than 20,000 American troops, meanwhile, landed in Dominican Republic in 1965 to sabotage the National Liberation Movements.

The CIA also orchestrated the 1973 Chilean coup d’?tat, in which the government of President Salvador Allende was overthrown. General Augusto Pinochet assumed power and established a military government that ruled until 1990.

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