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Robertson admits Chavez assassination call

Aug. 24, 2005 at 4:45 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- U.S. televangelist Pat Robertson apologized Wednesday for calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Robertson touched off a controversy with his remarks, delivered Monday on his Christian Broadcasting Network program "The 700 Club."

He said earlier Wednesday his remarks had been taken out of context. However, a tape of "The 700 Club" featured Robertson saying: "If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it."

Later Wednesday, CNN reported Robertson issued a statement apologizing for his remark.

"Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement," said Robertson.

Robertson claimed Chavez was trying to make Venezuela "a launching pad for Communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent." Robertson said publicity surrounding his remark had focused the U.S. government's attention on the problem.

Chavez dismissed Robertson's words, but Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel strongly condemned them and called on President Bush to take some sort of legal action.

Chavez, the democratically elected president of Venezuela, was almost removed in a 2002 coup attempt.

Chavez accuses the United States of being involved. The Bush administration denies the allegation.

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