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Caracas, Tuesday January 18 , 2005  
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Michael Rowan
Special for El Universal

Last week's meeting of the president with three United States senators sent a very clear message to Miraflores: Do whatever you want in violation of human rights, democracy, terrorism, or property rights -- it's of no concern to the United States.

The meeting was not confrontational, not at all. The senators did not ask the president for proof of his unsubstantiated claims that the United States government has tried to assassinate him, plotted to overthrow him with Carmona and again with the recall referendum, cynically used the National Endowment for Democracy [NED] as a front for the Central Intelligence Agency to subvert the Venezuelan government, or were involved in the killing of Danilo Anderson.

The senators did not ask the president of Venezuela to apologize for calling the president of the United States a terrorist, an assassin, a murderer of innocent civilians, and - unprecedented in recent international discourse -a pendejo. Nor did they ask him to explain his curious connections to terrorist groups in the Andean regions, the number of Cuban G2 agents in Venezuela, why he needs more Russian kalishnikovs than there are troops under arms in Venezuela, if the Russian warplanes he's buying will be used to intimidate Colombia or the US war against drugs there, whether he plans to confiscate US private property as he has British farms, or the disingenuousness of his lavishly funded lobbying activities in Washington that describe him as a fighter for the poor and democracy against the terrorist empire of the US, which the senators represent.

It was as if these issues, which are matters of great moment for all the Americas, don't exist. And that sends a very big message to the wily president of Venezuela. It says, by wink of the eye, nod of the head, you've got a green light from the US to do and say anything about the US that you want.

US senators are not ambassadors who by the very nature of their jobs must be polite to the point of deference. Perhaps they were cowed by what happened to the president of the NED who recently visited Caracas to defend the work of NED and Sumate, and who said "Venezuela is not a democracy or a dictatorship but something inbetween." He should be investigated for subversive remarks, the Vice President noted. Well, the senators can be happy that none of them are under suspicion of anything like that.

Michael Rowan's column is published every Tuesday

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