Clinton congratulates Venezuelans on their Independence Day

The United States and Venezuela don’t get along too well, but that didn’t keep Secretary Clinton from reaching out to the Venezuelan people yesterday and wishing them a happy Independence Day (which happens to be just a day after the United States’ Independence Day). In her message she said: On behalf of President Obama and ...

PRESIDENCIA/AFP/Getty Images
PRESIDENCIA/AFP/Getty Images
PRESIDENCIA/AFP/Getty Images

The United States and Venezuela don't get along too well, but that didn't keep Secretary Clinton from reaching out to the Venezuelan people yesterday and wishing them a happy Independence Day (which happens to be just a day after the United States' Independence Day). In her message she said:

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Venezuela as you celebrate 199 years of independence on July 5.

The cultural ties between United States and Venezuela are deep and enduring, and it is fitting that we celebrate our independence anniversaries within one day of each other.

The United States and Venezuela don’t get along too well, but that didn’t keep Secretary Clinton from reaching out to the Venezuelan people yesterday and wishing them a happy Independence Day (which happens to be just a day after the United States’ Independence Day). In her message she said:

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Venezuela as you celebrate 199 years of independence on July 5.

The cultural ties between United States and Venezuela are deep and enduring, and it is fitting that we celebrate our independence anniversaries within one day of each other.

We share a common history of emancipation and democratic aspiration. Patriots across the Americas committed their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to the cause of independence and to ensure that all people would have the right to chart their own destinies. The development of our nations has been driven by common values and a belief in individual liberties, fundamental civil rights such as freedom of speech and expression, and a right to self-determination. Living up to these values is our shared responsibility.

As both the United States and Venezuela celebrate our independence days, let us recommit ourselves to the high ideals of our founders and to the promise of democracy. I wish all Venezuelan citizens everywhere a safe and happy independence day. And I hope that our cultural and familial bonds will only grow deeper in the years to come.

As for those "fundamental civil rights," Venezuela as been backsliding. Freedom House gave Venezuela a "partly free" rating and stated in this year’s "Freedom in the World" report:

Venezuela’s political rights rating declined from 4 to 5 [higher numbers are worse] due to the adoption of laws designed to further marginalize the political opposition, including provisions that were rejected by referendum voters in December 2007.

(In the photo above, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez listens to Clinton at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago on April 18, 2009. This was a month after Chávez called President Obama a "poor ignoramus.")

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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