August 23, 2005
Tonight the Venezuelan and the United States governments are criticizing comments made by a well-known televangalist. Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson sent a chilling message across the airways suggesting that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez be assassinated.
Today U.S. officials called Robertson's comments inappropriate, and emphasized that he was not speaking on the United States' behalf.
"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," stated Pat Robertson, a 700 Club Religious Broadcaster.
Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition of America, called Chavez a "terrific danger" to the U.S. on Monday's broadcast of "the 700 Club."
"We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one strong-armed dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with," he went on.
Chavez has been an outspoken critic of the U.S. in the past. He has gone on record accusing American officials of trying to oust him.
Chavez had no comments in reference to the statements, but his Vice President shot back, calling Robertson's statements criminal. U.S. officials quickly distanced itself from the controversial statements.
"Certainly, it's against the law," said Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense. "Our department doesn't do that type of thing. [Robertson is] a private citizen. Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time."
The National Council of Churches is also condemning his statements, saying Robertson was speaking against Christian principals.
"That violates every tenant of our faith, to call for the murder to kill someone," explained Brenda Girton-Mitchell, of the National Council of Churches.
U.S. officials say that any allegations that the U.S. is planning hostile actions against the Venezuelan government are baseless.
The Venezuelan government says it is reviewing legal options in response to Robertson's commentary.