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CARACAS, Wednesday June 20, 2007 | Update
 
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VP Rodríguez labels Judge Garzón as hired clown
  NUEVOMEDIA
Wednesday June 20, 2007  05:16 PM

Venezuelan Vice-President Jorge Rodríguez railed Wednesday on Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, calling him a hired clown.

The senior official replied this way to Garzón's warning against the fact that freedom of expression in Venezuela was at stake.

According to Rodríguez, Garzón came to Venezuela "for a price and a fee" paid by the oligarchy. He claimed that the judge tried to teach lessons on democracy but closed in 1988 a daily newspaper in the Basque country "only for being leftwing," DPA quoted.

"He is a clown who dared say that there is no freedom of expression here. He came to say that freedom of expression is endangered in Venezuela. And which means did he use to speak? Was it a cardboard little glass? He spoke on the Venezuelan media, on the outspoken, opposition media which do not inform, but deform. The Bolivarian government does respect freedom of expression, but it asks for respect as well," he said during the swear-in ceremony of the incoming steering committee of power supplier La Electricidad de Caracas.

On Tuesday night, Garzón delivered a speech at the First International Congress of the National Council of Industries, where he mentioned the controversial issue of the Venezuelan government's failure to renew a broadcast license for private TV channel Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV).

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