(AP) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that his government could request the extradition of U.S. religious broadcaster Pat Robertson for suggesting American agents should kill him.
Speaking to foreign delegations attending a meeting of the Organization of American States in Caracas, Chavez said Venezuela would “exercise legal action in the United States” against Robertson.
Robertson’s comments last week have increased already tense relations between Caracas and Washington. He called for Chavez’s assassination on his TV show “The 700 Club,” saying the United States should “take him out” because the Venezuelan leader poses a danger to the region.
Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition of America, later issued an apology.
“Calling for the assassination of a head of state is a terrorist act,” said Chavez, an outspoken critic of U.S. President George W. Bush who has forged strong relations with communist-led Cuba.
“We could even request his extradition,” he added.
The Bush administration also swiftly distanced itself from Robertson’s comments Tuesday. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called the remarks “inappropriate.”
Venezuela has demanded a stronger condemnation of Robertson’s remarks.
Earlier Sunday, Rev. Jesse Jackson offered support for Chavez, saying the call for his assassination was a criminal act.
– Proverbs 17:28
The U.S. civil rights leader, who is on a four-day visit to Venezuela, called Robertson’s statements “immoral” and “illegal.” He urged U.S. authorities to take action, and said the U.S. government must choose “diplomacy over any threats of sabotage or isolation or assassination.”