CARACAS, Friday May 25, 2007 | Update
US Senate in full passes resolution against non-renewal of RCTV license
Venezuelan students have rejected the closure of RCTV (Gregorio Marrero/ AP)
Friday May 25, 2007  02:40 PM


The US Senate plenary session expressed "profound concern" about the Venezuelan government decision not to renew a broadcast license for Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV) and urged the Organization of American States (OAS) to get involved.

Both Democrats and Republicans at the Senate endorsed early Friday a resolution related to channel 2 that had been okayed Thursday by the Committee on Foreign Relations, Efe reported.

The instruments brands the license rescission "an assault against freedom of thought and expression and cannot be accepted by democratic countries." Also, it "strongly encourages" the OAS to respond appropriately.

The resolution does not provide for any sanctions or action against the Venezuelan government for such decision.

"The efforts of President (Hugo) Chávez to curb freedom of thought and expression run counter to the rights and values that every democratic nation should embrace and protect," said Democrat Senator Christopher Dodd, who submitted the resolution along with his Republican counterpart and party leader with the Committee on Foreign Relations Richard Lugar.

"The bipartisan resolution shows that the United States shares the concern about deteriorating democracy in Venezuela," Lugar said.

According to the paper, President Chávez took steps against the channel "merely because of its adherence to an editorial and informational stance distinct from the thinking of the Government of Venezuela."

In a letter forwarded Tuesday to Lugar, Venezuelan ambassador to the White House Bernardo Álvarez advocated his government legal right not to renew the concession.

The diplomat argued, among others, that RCTV "backed" a coup attempt against President Chávez in April 2002.

The resolution noted that there exists no filed complaint or judicial sentence that would sustain such a charge.

In the meantime, the US House of Representatives is pondering another resolution where the Venezuelan government is advised to observe fundamental laws and the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is requested to keep an eye on the situation in Venezuela.

Translated by Conchita Delgado

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