May 17, 2006

So I guess this means Pat Robertson was right

Bush administration blacklists Venezuela, saying Chavez has ties to terrorists.
[Thomas A. Shannon, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs] said that in dealing with Mr. Chavez, "the purpose is not just to ignore him," he said. "The purpose is not to allow him to define the terms of the confrontation and to make sure that as we engage with him, we are not doing so in a way that harms our larger interests.

"It would be a mistake for U.S. foreign policy in the region to overly concentrate on the guy," Mr. Shannon said. "If we allow ourselves to get trapped in the kind of confrontation that he wants to have with us, it lessens our influence with others in the region."

He said the administration could no longer certify that Venezuela was cooperating on counterterrorism because of its close ties with Cuba and Iran, both of which Washington considers state sponsors of terrorism.

"Cuban intelligence has effectively cloned itself inside Venezuelan intelligence to the point that [our] ability to cooperate and have a relationship with Venezuela on the intelligence side is very difficult," Mr. Shannon said.

"We are worried about the kind of relationship [Mr. Chavez] wants to have with Iran on the intelligence side," he added.

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