U.S eyes Venezuelan referendum as democratic process
The Obama administration on Tuesday complimented the constitutional referendum held in Venezuela as a "fully democratic process," saying that Washington seeks positive relations with President Hugo Chavez, Xinhua reported.
"This was a process that was fully consistent with democratic practice," said State Department deputy spokesman Gordon Duguid, adding that "we have always sought to have a positive relationship with Venezuela."
The remarks represented a rare praise made by Washington on Venezuela led by Chavez, who is well known for his tough stance against U.S. dominance in the western hemisphere.
The left-wing leader, first elected in 1998 and reelected in 2006, on Sunday won a constitutional referendum that lifted the limit on presidential terms, allowing him to run anew in the presidential election in 2012.
"However, democratic practice also requires that the government govern well and govern in the interests of all of the people of the diverse interests that are present in Venezuela," said the spokesman.
"We will continue to seek to maintain a positive relationship with Venezuela. But their democratic processes need to be taken into account on our part, but also on our part we look for governments who have achieved a positive democratic result to use that in a positive manner," Duguid said.
The U.S.-Venezuela relationship has been tense in recent years. In a response to Chavez's order to expulse U.S. ambassador, the Bush administration expulsed the Venezuelan ambassador in September 2008.