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Venezuelan Ambassador to the US On Election

Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez
Statement to the United States on Yesterday's Election
Aug 16 2004

Yesterday's vote proves once again that Venezuela is a vibrant and functioning democracy. The Carter Center and the Organization of American States have certified the elections as fair and free, finding no evidence of fraud, and called on the Venezuelan opposition to accept the results.

Venezuelan citizens went to the polls in record numbers to participate in our thriving electoral system. Today, with its transparency and numerous checks and balances, the Venezuelan electoral process stands as one of our nation's crowning achievement.

The Venezuelan people have affirmed, for the third time in six years, that they support President Hugo Chavez and his reform agenda. Today, for the first time in 50 years, Venezuela's national oil wealth is being invested in ways that will grow the middle class, create jobs and provide health care and education to all of our citizens.

President Chavez immediately reached out to his opponents, saying, "Those who voted for the yes should not feel defeated. I want to send them our respect."

Today is a new day in Venezuela. I believe it can also be a new day for US - Venezuelan relations. We look forward to constructing a new relationship -- one based on mutual respect -- with the US government.


ENDS

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