Sunday, May 22, 2005

Start a file

U.S. Proposal in the O.A.S. Draws Fire as an Attack on Venezuela

Underlying the hostility toward the proposal is a broader concern that the United States remains "fixated" on Venezuela, as one ambassador put it, while Latin American democracies are struggling to survive. "In many countries, people are asking, 'What is the value of democracy when I am still living in poverty?' " Mr. Tomic said. "Many countries are in serious peril. I would not like to point to Venezuela in particular when we still have these problems of poverty and extreme misery."

Several officials noted that, for all of Mr. Chávez's bluster, he is also using Venezuela's oil wealth to address social problems. But a senior American official who declined to be named because he did not want to inflame the debate with Latin American countries said Mr. Chávez's "prescriptions for poverty don't really work very well for countries that don't have vast oil wealth."

For the poor of Venezuela benefitting from it: So?