The press office of the Bolivian bishops' conference criticized Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for his verbal attacks against a Bolivian reporter at the conclusion of the ALBA summit last weekend.
The Bolivian reporter asked the Venezuelan president if he would be financially contributing to the campaign of the current Bolivian President Evo Morales in December. In response, Chavez accused the journalist of “being sent here by someone,” and told her that her question was “immoral and “full of lies.”
He added that he supports Morales with his whole “heart and soul.”
“The disproportionate remarks by President Hugo Chavez against a journalist who was only doing his job were an abuse of power and a lack of respect for journalistic work of the Bolivian press. His conduct was highly objectionable,” the statement said.
The press office also expressed concern “for this aggression that damages the dignity of Bolivian journalists, harms the basis of democracy and offends the sovereignty of the Bolivian people.”
The statement went on to demand that reporters be treated with dignity and respect, and that the right to freedom of expression be protected.
The 7th Summit of the Bolivian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) was held Oct. 15-17 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. ALBA was created in 2004 in opposition to U.S. free trade agreements in the region.