The United States Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger, arrived in Caracas on Monday (16?
The United States Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger, arrived in Caracas on Monday (16 February) facing the prospect that a planned summit with South and Central American leaders -- the highpoint of his goodwill visit -- may be cancelled.
And, while Dr. Kissinger had talks with Venezuelan leaders on the Tuesday, hundreds of student took to the streets of Caracas in an anti-American demonstration. Students said that at least one student was shot dead. Police refused to confirm or deny the report. There were also anti-U.S. demonstrations the previous day.
As the police clashed with the students, U.S. officials were still trying to rescue the summit meeting that, according to officials was showing clear signs of "falling apart".
Officials in Dr. Kissinger's party said President Juan Alberto Melgar of Honduras had told them he would not be at the proposed six-leader summit at the end of Dr. Kissinger's first Latin American tour. The summit may now be replaced by a foreign ministers' meeting, in the absence of President Melgar, El Salvador's President Arturo Armando Molina and Guatemalan President Kjell Laugerud.
President Molgar, whose country went to war with El Salvador in 1969 following riots at a football match, was said by officials to have pulled out because President Molina refused to attend.
President Laugerud said he had to stay at home following the earthquake that ravaged his country earlier this month. U.S. officials were hopeful that Dr. Kissinger would still meet President Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua and General Omar Torrijos of Panama if they went to San Jose, Costa Rica -- but they added that the summit appeared to be off.
While in Caracas, Dr. Kissinger gave six pledges to invigorate relations between the United States and Central and South American nations. He said that previously relations had suffered from Latin impatience and simplistic American plans.
Dr. Kissinger said the United States was committed to helping the major South American nations participate in the world economy on a more equal footing with industrialised countries.
And he pledged: to recognise Latin American counties required support to enter the wold economy; to continue foreign aid to the needier nations; support regional financial and trade organisations; to negotiate all disputes on a basis of equality; support Latin American security and modernise the Organisation of American States.
Dr. Kissinger left Caracas later on Tuesday to continue his tour in Lima, Peru.