Venezuela slams Harper for insensitive statement on death of Chavez
OTTAWA – Venezuela has sent a formal protest to the Canadian government for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s “insensitive” remarks on the death of President Hugo Chavez.
Harper issued a statement that offered “condolences to the people of Venezuela,” but not the family of the flamboyant 58-year-old leftist leader, who died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer.
A statement from a senior Venezuelan government official says a “card of protest” was sent to Ottawa after Harper expressed what he called insensitivity at a time when their country is grieving.
A wordy note from the vice-minister for North America, Claudia Salerno, said Caracas was protesting “in a blunt and categorical way, the statements issued the 5 of March 2013 by the prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, as they constitute insensitive and impertinent sentiments at a time when the Venezuelan people are grieving and crying over the irreparable physical loss of the Commander President Hugo Chavez Frias.”
Harper said in his short statement on Tuesday that he hopes the death of Chavez brings a more promising future for the Venezuelan people.
“At this key juncture, I hope the people of Venezuela can now build for themselves a better, brighter future based on the principles of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights,” Harper said in a statement Tuesday evening.
Harper also said that he looked forward “to working with (Chavez’s) successor and other leaders in the region to build a hemisphere that is more prosperous, secure and democratic.”