Venezuela vs. Brazil



Lula tells Chavez to mind his own business
Published on Saturday, June 2, 2007

BRASILIA, Brazil (AFP): President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Friday told Venezuela's Hugo Chavez to mind his own business, after Chavez called Brazilian lawmakers US lackeys for criticizing his decision to shut down an opposition TV station.

"Chavez has to take care of Venezuela, I have to take care of Brazil and (US President George W.) Bush has to take care of the United States," Agencia Brasil news quoted Lula as saying during a visit to London.

Ratcheting up the pressure, Lula asked his foreign ministry to call in Venezuela's Ambassador to Brazil to have him explain Chavez's response to the Brazilian Senate's formal request Wednesday that Chavez reconsider his decision to close RCTV.

Chavez said "the Brazilian congress should worry about Brazil's problems," and accused it of being Washington's "subordinate."

The anti-American Chavez also said the Brazilian Congress was controlled by "right-wing parties and movements who are trying to keep Venezuela out of Mercosur" -- a free-trade agreement between Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Chavez on Sunday refused to renew the broadcasting license of Venezuela's oldest and most popular television channel, RCTV, accusing it of subversion.

The move touched off massive protests around Venezuela and a barrage of criticism worldwide, including a US statement urging Chavez to reverse policies that "limit freedom of expression."