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PRESS CONFERENCE BY PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA

Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York

15 September 2005

In response to questions from correspondents at Headquarters this evening, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said the world was nowhere near reaching the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations. He also condemned the United States as a terrorist State, predicted gas could reach $100 dollars a barrel within two years, and said the very survival of the human race was in danger.

“I believe there is no point in having Summits to tell lies and to congratulate ourselves”, Chavez said when asked if he thought it was within his moral authority to question the goals set by the United Nations five years ago. The world was getting farther and farther away from the Millennium Development Goals, but Venezuela was complying. Examples included a drastic improvement in literacy rates, the availability of drinking water to millions more people, improved education plans for very young children, an increase in life expectancy and a decrease in child mortality.

When asked for his definition of what constituted a terrorist attack, he said Venezuela rejected any type of terrorism. But there were Governments who shamelessly maintained a double standard when it came to terrorism. “The Government of the United States is the champion of double speak”, he said. Examples included the war in Iraq which was based on lies and the use of napalm in Fallujah, where investigators discovered bodies, dead birds and dead plants. Other examples of State-sponsored terrorism included how “Preacher Pat Robertson, who is very well known in the United States, asked the Government of his country to assassinate me” and how the Government of the United States knew Hurricane Katrina was coming and then abandoned the storm’s victims, leaving them to die in the streets.

Hurricane Katrina was a result of the temperature of the ocean, and the destruction of the environment. “The survival of the human species is in danger”, he said. “We are running out of time.” The energy crisis would keep growing while the world ran out of oil, and the United States was the worst perpetrator of waste, consuming 25 per cent of the oil on the planet. The world could not tolerate the American way of life, and the planet was going to die. “We have to save this and see this”, he added.

In response to a question about the OPEC meeting in Vienna next week and what Venezuela would do in terms of quotas, the President said OPEC was at its highest level of production, and Venezuela could not increase its productivity. “Consumption could be 120 million barrels a day by 2020.” The oil reserves were being exhausted, and platforms were being closed in the North Sea. Prices would continue to increase. “There has to be savings and major consumers will have to do this”, he said.

When asked why he thought the outcome document of the Summit was illegal, he said because negotiation on it was restricted to 30 States. “This is a flagrant violation of the right of each sovereign State, which is a member of the UN.” The Charter had been violated, and no decision could be made unless there was a majority. There was no consensus. “This document is illegal and we do not recognize it”, he said.

In response to a question about whether his Government might cooperate with negotiations involving the ELN guerrilla group in Colombia and if he had spoken with President Alvaro Uribe, Chavez he had not spoken with the Colombian President about the matter. But he wants peace in Colombia, and Venezuela had always said it was ready to cooperate.

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For information media • not an official record



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