- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said he believes
the US government is planning to assassinate him.
- "If they kill me, the name of the person responsible
is [President] George Bush," Mr Chavez said.
- Mr Chavez - who offered no evidence to back his claim
- said any attempt on his life would backfire and threatened to cut off
oil supplies to America.
- He was apparently reacting to growing criticism by top
US officials of his left-wing government.
- US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has recently described
the former paratrooper as a "negative force" in Latin America,
while CIA chief Porter Goss said Venezuela was a possible source of instability
in the region.
- Washington blames Mr Chavez of being heavy-handed towards
Venezuela's opposition, and has recently criticised Caracas for arms purchases
- Diplomatic ties between Washington and Caracas have soured
since Mr Chavez came to power in 1999.
- There was no immediate response to his comments from
- 'No-nonsense talk'
- "If, by the hand of the devil, those perverse plans
succeed... forget about Venezuelan oil, Mr Bush, " Mr Chavez said
during his weekly TV show.
- "If you try, you will regret it Comrade Mr Bush."
- Venezuela is one of the world's leading oil exporters
- it sells about 1.5 million barrels a day to the US.
- Mr Chavez has repeatedly accused the US of backing Venezuela's
opposition to oust or even kill him, a charge Washington denies.
- He has alleged that the White House played part in an
April coup in 2002, which briefly removed him from power.
- Mr Chavez's comments echoed the words of Cuban President
Fidel Castro who said last week: "If Chavez is assassinated, the blame
will fall on Bush."
- "I say that as someone who has survived hundreds
of the empire's (assassination) plans," Mr Castro added.
- "Now, I am going to say it. Neither Fidel Castro
nor I talk nonsense," Mr Chavez said on Sunday.
- © BBC MMV