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Appeal to President Bush for a Change in Venezuela Policy

By Scott Sullivan

04.08.05 | President Bush abruptly blocked efforts by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to water down the war on terrorism and redefine it as a struggle against “violent extremism.” To quote today’s New York Times:.

In a speech here, Mr. Bush used the phrase "war on terror" no less than five times. Not once did he refer to the "global struggle against violent extremism," the wording consciously adopted by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other officials in recent weeks after internal deliberations about the best way to communicate how the United States views the challenge it is facing.

In recent public appearances, Mr. Rumsfeld and senior military officers have avoided formulations using the word "war," and some of Mr. Bush's top advisers have suggested that the administration wanted to jettison what had been its semiofficial wording of choice, "the global war on terror."

The friends of Venezuela should take heart. They should appeal directly to President Bush for support over the heads of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Secretatry of State Rice. They should ask for three things:

-- The President should speak out publicly against political and religious repression in Venezuela;

-- The President should direct Secretary Rumsfeld and Vice-President Cheney to develop a plan for containing Hugo Chavez, beginning in Bolivia; and

-- The President shall consult closely with Congress on both these issues.

The friends of Venezuela should also direct this message to Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Martinez. Two weeks ago Senator Martinez said Latin America was approaching a “crisis.” He was right, and it is time to act.

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