United Nations Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Saturday that he would attempt to improve his relations with Washington, which have been rocky in recent months.
"Sometimes I make mistakes, I tend to respond to any official from the government of Mr. Bush who verbally attacks Venezuela," Chavez said during a speech at a Manhattan church, his last public event in New York before heading to Cuba to meet with his close ally Fidel Castro.
Chavez said the Rev. Jesse Jackson and U.S. Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., who sat with him at the church, had advised him "not to be provoked" by representatives of the U.S. government.
He acknowledged that he has occasionally "gone too far with words" when responding to U.S. officials who criticize his government, and he said his criticism of the Bush administration has sometimes been misunderstood as attacks against the American public.
Two days earlier, Chavez harshly criticized President Bush in front of a United Nations summit for waging war in Iraq without U.N. consent.