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U.S. Congressman Calls For Democracy in Central and South America


Teaser:  U.S. Representative Dan Burton told VOA that the U.S. wants to be a "partner" with all of the fledgling democracies in Central and South America.

Washington, D.C., May 4, 2005 - U.S. Representative Dan Burton, Chairman of the House International Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, told the Voice of America (VOA) today that the U.S. wants to be a "partner" with all of the fledgling democracies in Central and South America.

"We are very concerned that the new democracies - when I say new, I mean over the past 10 to 15 years - continue to flourish," said Burton, referring to the political unrest in Western Hemisphere countries. The congressman, a Republican from Indiana, went on to say, "We want to make sure we don't see regression or change back toward totalitarian regimes." He added: "We want to continue to help the economic situation in Central and South America so that there's less poverty and chance of reverting to some type of totalitarian government."

Asked about his upcoming trip to Venezuela, Burton expressed concern about the current political situation in the country and said that he hoped his meetings with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will produce a positive change. Burton also commented on Colombia, stating that Colombian President Alvaro Uribe "is doing an excellent job in the war on drugs and the fight against the FARC rebels." Burton noted that President Uribe and his government are "heading in the right direction" and stressed, "wherever there is a need for additional help [from the U.S.], we want to be as helpful as possible."

The interview was aired on Desde Washington (From Washington), VOA's weekday Spanish-language television news broadcast for Latin America, which airs at 6:00 p.m. EDT (2200 UTC) Monday through Friday, and repeats at 7:00 p.m. EDT (2300 UTC) and again at 9:00 p.m. EDT (0100 UTC). VOA television affiliates in nearly a dozen countries throughout the Americas are now taking the program, with more being added each week. All programs are available at www.VOANews.com/Spanish.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages, including English.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 401-7000, or E-Mail publicaffairs@voa.gov.

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