Taken Question
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 17, 2011

Question: What is the U.S. reaction to the hunger strike of Venezuelan students and their demand for action by the OAS on the state of democracy in Venezuela?

Answer: As the Secretary said, “Civil society holds governments accountable, keeps them honest, and helps them be more effective.” We believe that independent civil society, including participation by young people, has a critical role to play in a democracy. We are concerned about the health and well being of the students who are risking their lives for their belief in democratic governance and individual liberties. We urge the Venezuelan Government to agree to a visit by the OAS as a means to promote dialogue and understanding.

PRN: 2011/236