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Robertson’s call to kill Chavez condemned by regional leaders

Robertson’s call to kill Chavez condemned by regional leaders

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Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has condemned calls by well-known United States televangelist Pat Robertson to have Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela assassinated.

Dr. Gonsalves noted that all of this country’s diplomatic initiatives were bearing fruit and it is doing so in a manner where the nation is friends with everybody and more particularly its neighbours.{{more}}

The Prime Minister stated that as a result of this position he was very distressed to read a CNN report Tuesday morning where Robertson, a contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, had called on the United States the day before to assassinate Chavez. The call was made on Robertson’s popular 700 Club which is shown here.

Robertson labeled Chavez a ‘terrific danger’ bent on “exporting Communism and Islamic Extremism across the Americas”.

Dr. Gonsalves refuted the claim that Chavez was a Communist.

“Chavez is not exporting anything other than solidarity. He is not involved with anything of Islamic Extremism, Chavez, in fact is a Christian,” said Dr. Gonsalves, adding that Chavez is a Socialist and has declared that.

Robertson said the United States has the ability to kill Chavez while expressing that he believes the time has come that they exercise that ability.

“We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one strong-arm dictator. It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with,” Robertson is reported to have stated.

Dr. Gonsalves explained that over the past seven years President Chavez has had to face six elections, including a recall referendum. He has won them all.

“This utterance by Robertson is a direct encouragement of the barbarism of terrorism. When you have a so called responsible leader to call for the liquidation of any human being, more particularly a democratically elected leader in our hemisphere it is an incitement to terrorism and this government rejects it unequivocally in the same way as we reject terrorism in all forms,” said Dr. Gonsalves.

His condemnation of Robinson’s call was supported by the Government of Grenada Tuesday which issued a statement saying they were “extremely concerned” over the statements made by Robertson. The Grenada Government said the views were against Christian principles and teachings and expressed surprise that such statements have come from a man who is at the top of the religious community in the United States.

It called on religious people and all democrats to condemn these statements by Robertson.

The statement went on, “(the) people of Grenada know of the pain and turmoil that assassination and execution causes. Our country has suffered in the past by the actions of persons who believed that political differences gave them the right to take lives. We believe that democracy should promote peace, unity and goodwill even where differences occur and not a level of extremism which causes disruption to society.”

In reaction to the call from

the conservative televangelist Venezuela’s Vice-President Jose Vicente Rangel said his government was studying its legal options, adding that how Washington responds to Robertson’s comments would put its anti-terrorism policy to the test.

“The ball is in the US court, after this criminal statement by a citizen of that country,”

Rangel told reporters, “It’s huge hypocrisy to maintain this discourse against terrorism and at the same time, in the heart of that country, there are entirely terrorist statements like those.”

The US State Department distanced itself from Robertson’s comments with Donald Rumsfeld telling reporters at the Pentagon that “our department doesn’t do that kind of thing” while spokesman Sean McCormack said “We do not share his view, and his comments are inappropriate.”

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