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Venezuela Accuses U.S. of Meddling

April 20, 1999

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) _ President Hugo Chavez’s government accused the United States on Tuesday of meddling in its foreign relations and said it will support Cuba, Iran and China in U.N. votes on human rights.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jose Vicente Rangel said that while relations between the two countries generally are good, ``at times there have been pressures″ by U.S. officials trying to influence Venezuela’s foreign policy.

``Venezuela doesn’t allow itself to be pressured by anyone,″ Rangel told reporters.

He said he was instructing Venezuela’s delegates to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva to vote in favor of Cuba, Iran and China. The group’a annual six-week meeting started March 22.

Rangel criticized the nearly four-decade-old U.S. embargo against Cuba, saying that the United States should not demand respect for human rights ``while there is an embargo against a small third country in violation of international human rights.″

Chavez was barred from entering the U.S. after he led a failed coup attempt in 1992, but the ban was lifted after his landslide victory last December. Venezuela is one of the top foreign suppliers of oil to the United States.

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