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Chavez welcomes Guantanamo Bay closure


Agence France-Presse
First Posted 05:40:00 01/24/2009

Filed Under: Government, Diplomacy

CARACAS, Venezuela ? Venezuela President Hugo Chavez welcomed Friday US President Barack Obama's decision to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.

And former Cuban leader Fidel Castro's reflections Thursday on the new US president -- that Obama "seems to be a good man" -- are "wise," Chavez said at public event.

Obama's move to issue executive orders to close down the US Guantanamo detention facility and forbid the use of torture is an "important signal, let us give a round of applause," Chavez said.

"We cannot say that anything wrong per se has come from the US government, added Chavez. "I am delighted to have this young president, and the first thing he has done is to sign (decrees against torture)."

Chavez also noted that, in his view, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza was directly linked to Obama's inauguration Tuesday as the two events came within hours of each other.

"We are full of hope that the world is on the path to reason and peace," said Chavez, referring to Obama.

The comments were a change in tone for Chavez, who last Saturday accused then-president-elect Obama of doing the Pentagon's bidding and "meddling" in Venezuela's campaign for a February referendum on lifting term limits for elected officials, including Chavez's.



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