Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jan 24/08 | Open Letter to Rep. William (Bill) Delahunt (D-MA)

Desperately looking for friends
and always finding Rep. Delahunt!

The Honorable William D. Delahunt
U.S. House of Representatives
2454 Rayburn House Office Building
, DC 20515

January 24th 2008

Dear Rep. Delahunt:

I write to convey my doubts about your stance on issues affecting Venezuela and its relations to the U.S. I am a concerned Venezuelan national who over the years has observed your dodged efforts to cultivate a friendly and surprisingly tolerant relationship with Hugo Chávez, my country’s President.

Having met with you and having attended hearings and events at which you have spoken on the subject of Venezuela, I fail to comprehend the rational for your permissive posture towards the increasingly authoritarian and anti-U.S. President Chávez.

In an effort to better understand the motives and methods regarding your obstinate and narrow posture towards my country, I would like to pose the following questions to you. While I look forward to receiving a response, many in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as well as in my country, would be well served by reading the answers to these questions. In the interest of full transparency, I suggest you might include the answers and additional details about your close relationship with Mr. Chávez on a new section of your web site so your constituents can better appreciate your views and priorities:

  1. Given that the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) is listed as a terrorist group by both the European Union and the United States, does it not undermine the efforts of the legitimate democratically-elected government of Colombia in its quest for peace, as well as grant an unwarranted legitimacy to the FARC, when you send a letter to the FARC during the recent negotiations regarding the many hostages held by that terrorist group? Is this an effort to establish a practical political partnership with President Chávez who has called on the world to remove the label of “terrorist” from the FARC, in open defiance of the explicit wishes and policies of the democratically-elected government of Colombia? Do you agree with Mr. Chávez’s demand that the FARC should be granted belligerent status and thus stricken from the list of terrorist organizations?
  2. Several years ago, the government of Venezuela demanded the Government of the United States negotiate a new set of protocols for the operation of the DEA in Venezuela. The U.S. – according to published reports and testimony - did accede to this request and negotiated an agreement that was approved by Luis Correa, who was then Venezuela’s anti-narcotics chief. The agreement however was apparently discarded by Mr. Chávez. Given that the U.S. administration has harshly criticized Venezuela’s drug interdiction efforts, can you share Mr. Chávez’s rationale for not signing a revised cooperation agreement as it has been reported that this was discussed during your recent conversations with him?
  3. Why did you remain silent as Mr. Chávez was honoring the Iranian president, Mr. Ahmadinejad? As a known friend (some would say apologist) of Mr. Chávez, it would have made a serious impression upon people if you had chosen to condemn Chávez’s praises for this anti-Semitic ruffian?
  4. Other than condemning Chávez’s overblown rhetoric whenever Chávez insults President Bush, why have you failed to condemn any of the substantively anti-democratic acts committed by the Chávez government — including the politically motivated confiscation of the hard earned health and pension benefits of thousands of PDVSA employees who were fired arbitrarily; the persecution—without grounds—of countless individual citizens for political reasons; the refusal to follow judicial due process or hold any administrative fact finding proceedings prior to the closure of the RCTV television channel—these being among many other arbitrary and well-documented developments?
  5. Mr. Chávez has enlisted the services of Joseph P. Kennedy, a former Congressman from your own state of Massachusetts, to portray the corrupt and inept Bolivarian régime as being concerned for the fate of poor Americans. In this regard, have you read the report prepared by the GAO on the risks posed by Mr. Chávez’s reckless management of the largest oil reservoirs in the hemisphere? Sir, are you unaware of the effects on supplies and prices resulting from Mr. Chávez’s reckless firing in 2003 of almost all the qualified personnel at PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil monopoly? Sir, are you aware that one who reportedly spends “millions” to provide “relief” to the most needy in your state has himself vociferously demanded actions by OPEC that have led to higher oil prices, which have had pernicious effects on every single household in the U.S.?

Mr. Delahunt, I respectfully request your answers these questions as openly as they have been asked and delivered to you. I will duly post them on my blog where I am also posting this letter.


Pedro M. Burelli