Local October 27, 2011 | 9:50 am

“Populist” remark could have led to cooling Dominican-Venezuela ties

Santo Domingo.- A senior official’s statement Wednesday afternoon that president Leonel Fernandez will not visit Hugo Chavez in Caracas, just hours after the announcement, could be the result of cooling relations between the tow leaders.

Miguel Mejía, a minister without portfolio with close ties to the Venezuelan leader yesterday announced that given Chavez’s “tight agenda” the visit Sunday from his Dominican par had to be postponed. “The Venezuelan government notified that due to a busy agenda, he could not receive the president Sunday as scheduled and in that sense postponed the visit,” but noted it wasn’t due of Chavez’s health.

Nonetheless according to a recent U.S. Embassy cable disclosed by WikiLeaks Fernandez allegedly criticized Chavez’s “populist” measures, in a conversation with U.S. diplomats. In his second term in office (2004 to 2008) Fernandez had also criticized a supposed wave of populism sweeping across Latin America.

Mejia added that Chavez’s agenda is tight because his country faces difficulties in the wake of damages by hurricane Irene.

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