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Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
The James S. Brady Briefing Room

In Ed's question about Haiti, he brought up Venezuela. The pro-Castro government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela is coming under increasing pressure to agree that recall election or to resign. Chavez has complained of American meddling in internal Venezuelan affairs and has threatened to cut off oil to -- oil shipments to the United States. What is it that we are doing to -- that he is accusing us of? Are we doing any of these --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, talking about democracy, there is a democratic constitutional process underway in Venezuela. And that's where the focus should be. The focus should remain on the efforts by the Venezuelan people to exercise their constitutional and democratic rights, and on the efforts to try to resolve the political polarization through a transparent and internationally monitored presidential recall referendum.

The Organization of American States, including the United States, is working in Venezuela to monitor those events. And that's where the focus should be.

Q It seems like the observers have kind of reached their limit now, and it's my understanding that they're going to leave.

MR. McCLELLAN: We continue to support the democratic constitutional process in Venezuela --

Q Are we going to help Hugo Chavez the same way that we helped Aristide?

MR. McCLELLAN: Different situations.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/03/20040301-4.html#6

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