Venezuelan President cancels trip to US
( 2003-09-17 09:51) (Agencies)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who faces a
referendum challenge from political opponents, has canceled a planned visit to
the United States next week that included an address to the U.N. General
Assembly, government sources said on Tuesday.
Besides the United Nations in New York, the left-wing Venezuelan leader had
been planning to visit the Organization of American States in Washington and the
oil industry city of Houston in a Sept 25-29 trip.
|Chavez speaks during his weekly broadcast
'Alo Presidente' in Caracas, Sept. 14. Photo by Reuters (Handout) place in
the state oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), existing export deals
were being honored.
"He's not going to either Washington or the U.N ... he prefers to concentrate
on affairs at home," one government source, who asked not to be identified, told
The sources offered no further explanation for the trip cancellation by the
populist president, who has traveled widely and enjoys lecturing foreign
audiences about his "Bolivarian Revolution" in the world's No. 5 oil exporter.
Chavez, a former paratrooper who was first elected in late 1998 and survived
a coup last year, is facing a determined bid by opponents to hold a nationwide
referendum on his rule.
Venezuela's National Election Council last Friday rejected as flawed an
opposition referendum petition backed by more than 3 million signatures.
Opposition leaders plan a second collection of pro-referendum signatures on Oct.
Foes of Chavez say his "revolution" has dragged Venezuela into political
chaos and economic ruin. He dismisses them as resentful "oligarchs" trying to
defend their wealth and privileges.