CARACAS, Friday March 18, 2005 | Update
Chávez and Lara governor Luis Reyes Reyes headed the mobile cabinet in Barquisimeto (Photo: ABN)
SPECIAL ARTICLE FOR EL UNIVERSAL
Venezuelan government intends to continue sending 1.5 million b/d to the United States, but "the table should be set properly," said President Hugo Chávez on Thursday.
"Reference is made to stop sending oil to the United States in the event of any insane deciding to invade Venezuela or assassinate the President; otherwise, relations with all US companies will continue as long as royalties are paid," he added during his visit to the city of Barquisimeto, north-western Lara state, where he headed the third mobile cabinet.
Amid tight security measures, he viewed as positive and labeled as interesting the recent remarks of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Mexico. There, she stated that "Chávez was elected democratically and he was expected to rule democratically."
Venezuela's rule is "more democratic that other nations. It is an open democracy with free debate. I am called many names, but I don't care. I am working."
In his opinion, the issue of the United States should be viewed in a positive way. For this reason, he welcomed Rice's remarks. "May she will not go back to her old tricks and say that Chávez is a threat. I am not any threat. The threat in Latin America is hunger and misery. Interestingly, she declared that efforts should be made in Latin America to solve problems, such as poverty, health, and education. I feel that all nations are making efforts to fight poverty, but we are in the frontline. We will support the thesis about the need, both of the United States and Venezuela, to have good relations."
Regarding the hike in oil prices, he said that despite OPEC efforts, there was an increase by almost USD 2. "Needless to say, the world -particularly developed nations, where a lot of oil is consumed- must forget about free oil."
Respect, no sabotage
"The government respects and will respect university autonomy, as set forth in the Constitution," Chávez said. However, he warned: "I won't let university presidents jeopardize Sucre Mission." In his view, "opposition" university presidents, instead of taking up responsibility for education of all Venezuelans, intend to use agencies, such as the National Council of Universities, to damage Sucre Mission.
"Some university presidents assert that the government cannot take action, because they are the ones entitled to do it. This is a lie. The Constitution establishes that the government is ultimately responsible for education," he added.
Translated by Conchita Delgado
02:57 PM. HEAVY RAINS. Venezuelan Executive Vice-President Elias Jaua reported that the government is designing plans to support farmers, cattlemen and peasants of the state of Mérida who have been hit by heavy rains that have caused crop losses.