Chilean senators barred from entering Venezuela

Last Updated: Sun, Jul 18, 2010 01:10 hrs

, July 18 (IANS/EFE) Chilean senators who were planning to observe Venezuela's general elections in September will not be allowed to enter the country, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said.

The institutions of Venezuela 'have nothing to do with the Chilean people nor with the government of Chile,' Chavez said, and asked: 'But what are these senators thinking? What do they think this country is, some sports stadium?'

A resolution taken by the Chilean Senate asked international organisations to adopt a 'more vigilant attitude to make sure the Venezuelan government complies with basic regulations that guarantee electoral honesty and transparency'.

Fifteen senatore also designated themselves as 'observers' of the elections in Venezuela.

'We're not going to accept' the decision taken by the Chilean Senate, he said. 'Don't be ridiculous! You're not getting in here, you're not going to enter.'

The National Electoral Council, the only one with the authority to invite foreign individuals or institutions to observe elections, had barred those senators earlier.

The legislature branded as 'despicable meddling with Venezuelan democracy' the Chilean Senate's resolution and called those 15 senators 'heirs of the bloody dictator Pinochet', and accused them of the brazen intention of destabilising the Venezuelan electoral process.

The speaker of the National Assembly, Cilia Flores, also called the Chilean senators 'stupid'. Flores urged the Chilean lawmakers to help fix the internal problems of their own country.

Nonetheless, some of those 15 Chilean senators said they will insist on traveling to Venezuela.

'We're not going to be scared off by a few nasty remarks by some (Venezuelan) officials... we are determined to persevere with the decision taken in the Senate to send a delegation,' Sen. Andres Allamanad said.