News / Americas

Obama: US Hopes for Improved Relations with Venezuela

FILE - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wears an army uniform and the red beret of his parachute regiment while he attends a military parade in Caracas, April 13, 2005.
FILE - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wears an army uniform and the red beret of his parachute regiment while he attends a military parade in Caracas, April 13, 2005.
TEXT SIZE - +
— U.S. President Barack Obama has marked the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, saying the United States looks forward to improved relations with Venezuela.

Obama's statement on the passing of the Venezuelan leader was brief, one paragraph in all.

At this challenging time,  Obama said, the U.S. reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with Venezuela's government.

As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history,  Obama continued, the U.S. remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.
 
President Obama met President Chavez only once.  In 2009, they shook hands in a hotel meeting room on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.

Chavez's anti-American rhetoric, which reached a peak during the administration of former president George W. Bush, continued during the Obama administration.

After Obama voiced concern that Chavez's government had aided Colombia's FARC guerrillas,  Chavez said Obama had "the same stench" as former president Bush.

In written responses last year to Venezuela's El Universal newspaper, Obama voiced concern about Chavez government actions he said "restricted universal rights, threatened basic democratic values and failed to contribute to security in the region."

At the same time,  Obama said he hoped to eventually have a better relationship with Venezuela.  

The Obama administration continued to criticize Chavez's close ties with Iran and Syria, as did critics of Chavez in the U.S. Congress.

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Republican Ed Royce, issued a statement Tuesday calling President Chavez "a tyrant" and saying "his death dents the alliance of anti-U.S. leftist leaders in South America."

In 2012, as both Presidents Chavez and Obama fought for re-election, Chavez said, "if I were from the United States, I [would] vote for Obama," adding if Obama were Venezuelan he would vote for Chavez.

During a Latin America trip in 2011, and at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia last year, President Obama urged respect for democracy, rule of law and human rights, but did not use speeches in the region to criticize President Chavez by name.

The Venezuelan leader did not attend the last Summit of the Americas because he was receiving medical treatment in Cuba.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Audit Finds US Housing Aid Program in Haiti Falls Short

Results show post-earthquake USAID program has delivered only a quarter of planned number of homes at nearly twice the budgeted cost
More

Mourning, Memories in Garcia Marquez's Languid Hometown

Nobel Prize-winning author, who died on Thursday, spent the first years of his life in Aracataca and drew on it for some of the characters and tales in 'One Hundred Years of Solitude'
More

Powerful Earthquake Rattles Mexico

US Geological Survey says quake measuring 7.5 on Richter scale, was centered in the western state of Guerrero, north of Acapulco beach resort
More

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support
More

Colombian Novelist Garcia Marquez Dies at 87

Author of 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982
More

Salsa Legend Cheo Feliciano Dies in Car Crash

Police say singer was alone in his jaguar when he hit a post before sunrise Thursday
More