CARACAS, Thursday February 22, 2007 | Update
The newly appointed leaders of the US Congress -now dominated
by the Democrats- are trying to improve diplomatic ties between
Venezuela and the United States, and that is the mission Senator
Sheila Jackson Lee is accomplishing in Caracas.
The US lawmaker Wednesday offered a news conference in the headquarters of the US Embassy, and disclosed the reasons for her visit and her vision of what US-Venezuela relations should be. Ambassador William Brownfield accompanied Jackson Lee.
She reminded she is part of the "new Democrat leadership" in the US Congress. Regarding nationalizations of private companies in diverse sectors in Venezuela, the lawmaker reasoned that the Venezuelan Government "has been paying fair compensations over the last few months."
"We are advocating a transparent process and asking enough room for negotiations."
She added that she is proposing the relevant US authorities to lift current bans on sales of spare parts for US-made warplanes F-16s owned by Venezuela. These airplanes have been facing problems as the US has refused to supply spare parts for maintenance and overhauling.
Regarding Venezuelan plans to purchase the whole Bolivian coca production for industrial purposes, Jackson Lee said: "All governments have a sovereign right to make this kind of purchases for legal purposes."
She added her mission is collecting information on the Venezuelan situation at all levels and submit a report to her colleagues in the US Congress so that Venezuela is given priority in their agenda.
She wished for "an unprecedented mending of US and Venezuela relations." "Who can forget about the friendship between George Washington and Francisco de Miranda?"
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.