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Venezuelan Government Refuses Entry For Hyde-Lantos Congressional Delegation

From | U.S. Newswire

To: National Desk

Contact: Sam Stratman of the Office of Chairman Henry J. Hyde, 202-225-5021

CARACAS, Venezuela, Nov. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A high-level delegation headed by International Relations Committee Chairman Henry J. Hyde and Ranking Democratic Member Tom Lantos was refused entry into Venezuela by government officials after the delegation had been held onboard their aircraft and harrassed by customs officials for two hours at Caracas' Simon Bolivar International Airport.

The delegation's itinerary, composition and scheduled meetings had been shared with Venezuelan officials several weeks prior to the delegation's arrival from Washington, including a meeting with President Hugo Chavez.

The delegation departed Venezuela after governemt officials refused to guarantee that the delegation would be allowed to disembark and carry out its planned schedule.

The bipartisan delegation comprised of Chairman Hyde, Ranking Democratic Member Lantos, Representatives Watt, Faleomavaega, Watson, and Fortuno. The delegation members expressed their profound disappointmernt in the Venezuelan Government's capricious and unexplained decision and actions given that the purpose of the mission was to seek ways to reduce strains in the increasingly troubled relationship between the United States and Venezuela.

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