'WE DO NOT BOAST OF OUR VICTORY": INTERVIEW WITH HUGO CHAVEZ
Political opposition leaders act "anti-democratically" - The oil market's "positive" reaction to the referendum
Venezuela's president hopes for the cooperation of the opposition, offers an alternative to capitalism and emphasizes his country's reliability for the oil market.
[This interview originally published in the Austrian Der Standard is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://derstandard.at/druck/?id=1764687.]
Standard: The opposition is convinced there was a massive electoral fraud. Is this true?
Chavez: I cannot explain why opposition leaders alarm the country while not accepting the results. It is unique worldwide that the opposition leaders act undemocratically without affirming the crystal-clear and transparent election result. International election observers also confirmed the outcome. Speaking of an electoral fraud is irresponsible.
Standard: Still 42 percent of Venezuelan citizens voted for your removal from office. What is your opinion of these oppositional persons?
Chavez: They shouldn't be considered beaten. We do not go around and boast about our victory. We know more than 40 percent voted for the option of removal from office. These thousands of people deserve our respect. I am not the most important. What is central is a humanist project, an alternative to capitalism, a concept, an experience and a new dream that will grow in honor and dignity. Meeting with opposition leaders and beginning together a new stage in the process of transformation initiated six years ago is vital.
Standard: What do you now expect from the opposition leaders?
Chavez: I am sure that they will fail in their contempt for the institutions of the country and the will of the people. This leadership has not reached the level of the hundreds of thousands of compatriots who voted Yes. These compatriots also did not send their fellow-citizens to demonstrate irresponsibly on the streets.
Standard: What do you mean concretely with your offer of dialogue to the opposition?
Chavez: It is a call to all Venezuelans of good will including those of good will in the opposition. We have prepared a study paper for this new stage on organizing and deepening this dialogue. We will meet with the governors and mayors of the opposition who want to do justice to their responsibility imposed on us by the constitution. This offer also extends to the economic leaders and economic departments to cooperate with the government in reinvigorating the economy.
Standard: Will you improve the strained relations to the US government after the referendum?
Chavez: Hopefully the US will begin a new stage and improve the economic and political relations between the government and society after this crystal-clear demonstration of the victory of the Venezuelan people and the Bolivarian government.
We heard with joy the US government's renunciation on violent protests. However we have reason to doubt this declaration. The world has many reasons to doubt declarations of the US government. Hopefully the declaration will correspond to reality in relation to Venezuela and events all over the world. Hopefully people will be capable of insight and changing their opinions.
Standard: How do you regard the reaction of the oil markets to the referendum in Venezuela?
Chavez: The reaction seems positive. This government guarantees stability and fulfills all its obligations. We produce the highest quality of oil. I assure you that no one has an interest in keeping the price artificially high with Opec.