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Caracas, Thursday October 28 , 2004  
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John Kerry asks Chávez to stop "political persecutions"

U.S. democrat candidate John Kerry urged the Venezuelan president to end the  "political persecutions" and his support to "the anti-democratic forces in the region," news agency EFE reported.

In a communiqué, Kerry said that the presidential recall referendum held in Venezuela last August offered Chávez the "historical" opportunity to lead the country in a new direction and that "unfortunately" he has taken the opposite path.

Instead of working with the Venezuelan opposition, Chávez "has chosen persecution against some players, alleging the "crime" of having accepted a small grant from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) aimed at promoting the recall vote, said Kerry's campaign command, in an allusion to the action taken by the government against the directors of the NGO Súmate.

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