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Negroponte: Venezuela’s Chavez A Threat To Region’s Democracy January 30, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News, World News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–A top Bush administration official said Tuesday Latin American nations are doing quite well despite a threat to democracies in the region from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

“I do not think he has been a constructive force in the hemisphere,” said John Negroponte, designated for the No. 2 position in the State Department. Negroponte, a veteran career diplomat, has served as ambassador to Honduras and Mexico, and most recently has been director of national intelligence.

Testifying at his Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing, Negroponte said Bolivia, among other countries, has come under the influence of Chavez as he attempts to export “his kind of radical populism. And I think that his behavior is threatening to democracies in the region.”

He said that a “certain amount of populism” is evident in Latin America, a reflection of democracy’s failure to deliver in ways that the people had expected.

Chavez most clearly symbolizes that trend, he said.

The diplomat stressed the importance of Colombia to U.S. interests. “I think it’s very, very important,” he said, “that we continue to support the government of Colombia in its efforts to bring that country under control and to finally put an end to the guerrilla activity that’s taking place in that country.”

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