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Chavez Says Bush Bad for World Peace
Published on Wednesday, May 24, 2006 by Reuters
Chavez Says Bush Bad for World Peace
by Hugh Bronstein
 

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez complained on Tuesday that the United States is making peace in the world impossible, a comment he said was a response to recent criticism from President George W. Bush.

"We are very worried because your imperialist and warlike government is dangerously eroding the possibility of peace and life in the world," said Chavez, a fiery critic of the Iraq war.

Bush said on Monday he was concerned about what he called the erosion of democracy in Venezuela and fellow Andean country Bolivia.

The exchange was the latest salvo in a war of words between Washington and Caracas. The United States charges that the populist Chavez is trying to destabilize Latin America and the Venezuelan leader accuses the White House of planning to topple him to snatch the country's vast oil reserves.

"The United States is now a country against its own people and against the people of the world. It is anti-democratic," Chavez told a rally of cheering supporters.

"They called the 20th Century the 'American Century'. Fine. The 21st Century will be called the century that saw the end of the North American empire," he declared.

Bolivian President Evo Morales nationalized the country's energy industry on May 1, upsetting international investors. He and Chavez are close allies and, with Cuban President Fidel Castro, have formed an alliance that aims to stifle what they say is U.S. hegemony in the region.

The United States announced this month it would no longer sell arms to Venezuela, insisting the country had failed to cooperate in global efforts to fight terrorism.

Chavez denies that and has accused the United States of being behind a botched 2002 coup that briefly toppled his government. U.S. officials dismiss his accusations.

Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited

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