- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 7, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Norman Bailey’s column on Venezuela (“Threats in the hemisphere,” Commentary, Thursday) made the politicized and dangerous argument that the country is a security threat. Venezuela is actually an advocate for peace and cooperation.

Democracy is in full force in Venezuela. The media is still opposition-dominated. Regular, free and fair elections have been certified by credible international observers; local elections this year will likely reaffirm this. The only individuals ineligible to run are those that face corruption charges, due to a law dating back to the 1970s. The branches of government operate independently; the electoral council upheld the ‘no’ vote in last year’s constitutional reform referendum.

Finally, Venezuela does not support terrorist groups, and charges of anti-Semitism would come as a surprise to global Jewish leaders who recently met with President Hugo Chavez and stated that “he is a great friend of the Jewish people” and “wants to fight anti-Semitism in Latin America.”

OLIVIA BURLINGAME GOUMBRI

Washington

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