US Considers February 15 Referendum "an Internal Matter" for Venezuela
After some missteps and awkward exchanges through the media by Presidents Obama of the US and Chávez of Venezuela (and functionaries that work for each) in recent weeks, the new administration in Washington today made its first official policy statement on relations between the two countries.
During a State Department press briefing this morning in Washington by Acting Department Spokesman Robert Wood, he fielded the first question on Latin American relations in two weeks of these daily briefings. From the State Department transcript:
QUESTION: Is the U.S. Government concerned about this election, this referendum on -- in Venezuela on the 15th of February, and Chavez trying to stay in power?
MR. WOOD: Look, that's an internal matter with regard to Venezuela, and I don't have anything more to say on that.
This newly-stated respect for Venezuela's internal governance marks a clear break from previous US policy that regularly sought to meddle in the country's democratic affairs.