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Caracas, Friday July 08 , 2005  
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Chávez intends to frighten opposition with NGO Súmate trial, says US spokesman
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The Supreme Tribunal of Justice's (TSJ) decision to prosecute Venezuelan civil association Súmate directors is part of President Hugo Chávez's campaign to intimidate the opposition, Friday said Tom Casey, assistant spokesman for the US Department of State.

Legal action against María Corina Machado and Alejandro Plaz announced on Thursday is part of a campaign of the Venezuelan government aimed at frightening members of civil society and preventing them from exercising their democratic rights," Casey said at a press conference as quoted by news agency AFP.

"We are very disappointed. The (conspiracy) charges filed by the Venezuelan government have no basis," he added.

In this regard, the US spokesman claimed that President George Bush's government  is "seriously concerned" about this case, and that Washington is discussing it with other Latin American countries.

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