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Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez was one of the first world leaders to congratulate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his victory in last Sunday’s elections.
“It was a very big and important victory for the people fighting for a better world,” he was quoted as saying by the Venezuelan Ministry of Information.
Since then, silence from normally vociferous Chavez, suggesting some discomfort at the situation. Two short reports have appeared on the government news agency’s website reporting the unrest. Another quoted Ahmadinejad in Shanghai saying that the epoch of empires must come to an end.
But pro-Chavez blogs have been less restrained. Writing in the pro-government blog Aporrea.org, Aldo Bianchi pointed to a far-right, U.S.-led conspiracy to oust Ahmadinejad. “Did you think that Mossad, the CIA and the ultra-right Republicans would allow this outcome???? (sic). Ahmadinejad is the immediate enemy but the Obama is the crucial target.”
Venezuela has always had relatively close ties with Iran since both are considered rebel members of OPEC, but Chavez and Ahmadinejad have forged a particularly close relationship as crusaders against perceived American “imperialism.”
Chavez visited Iran in April and both Iran and Venezuela have promoted their bilateral relationship joint ventures. Recent trade agreements include the building of Iranian tractors on Venezuelan soil and the Iranian-Venezuelan Development Bank, an entity set up to confront the global economic crisis.
Given their close ties, it’s no wonder you can hear the silence here.
See here for an overview of local reaction around the world.