Chavez to suspend oil exports to US in case of assassination attempt

02-20-2005, 21h42

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened to suspend oil exports to the United States if someone tries to assassinate him, adding that US President George W. Bush would be to blame.

"If they kill me, there will be a really guilty party on this planet whose name is the president of the United States, George Bush," Chavez said on his weekly radio program, "Hello, Mr. President."

"If, by the hand of the devil, those perverse plans succeed ... forget about Venezuelan oil, Mr. Bush," he said.

Chavez said he was convinced that Washington was "sketching out the assassination plans" before his Bolivarian Revolution advances in Venezuela and Latin America.

Chavez revealed a week ago that Cuban President Fidel Castro had warned him of a US assassination plot.

"Now, I am going to say it. Neither Fidel Castro nor I talk nonsense.

"If something happens to me, I blame the president of the United States," he said.

"I will not hide. I am going to be in the streets with you. I entrust myself to God, but I know that I have been condemned to die," Chavez said.

"Each second of my life I will spend in the struggle and God's will be done," he said.

Castro said on February 12: "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," he said.

Chavez has also recently accused the United States of being involved in an April 2002 coup, which removed him from power for less than two days.

Washington has accused Chavez of being undemocratic especially when it comes to the Venezuelan opposition, and has more recently criticized arms purchases from Russia and Brazil.

Venezuela is the only Latin American member of the Organization of the Petroleum Producing Countries, and sells about 1.5 million barrels daily to the United States, nearly as much as Saudi Arabia.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently called Chavez "a negative force" in Latin America, and the State Department backed Colombia in a recent dispute between the Caribbean neighbors over the arrest of a Colombian rebel in Caracas by Colombian officials without Venezuela's knowledge or consent.