HUGO CHAVEZ SAYS "DON'T MESS WITH ME, GIRL"
US Secretary of State yesterday ramped up the war of words between Venezuela and the United States, as Hugo Chavez cuts US oil companies out of the massive profits from natural gas mining.
In the latest attempt to drive a spike through the minds of her fellow Americans when it comes to Central American socialist-democracies, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has called for an international 'united front' against Venezuela.
The US, she claims, deems Venezuela president Hugo Chavez as "a particular danger to the region."
Rice said it was important that the US have a "safe and secure neighbourhood" in the Western Hemisphere and made the bizarre claim that Venezuela was "attempting to influence neighbours away from democratic processes".
Chavez has won three elections since 1998 with margins greater than US President Bush, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
Venezuela recently cut deals with US states like Vermont to supply poor Americans with discount heating oil and allowed hundreds of the Venezuelan state owned Citgo petrol stations in the US to discount fuel in areas hardest hit by the hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Venezuela President Hugo Chavez. America is
addicted to oil and he's one of the dealers, that's
why he's laughing.
Chavez laughed off Rice's claims during his televised weekly address to the people.
"Don't mess with me Condoleeza," Chavez said.
What infuriates the US so much about Chavez and Bolivia's Morales is their desire to hand back the oil and mining billions to the people of their countries, instead of it all flowing out into the international coffers of huge US/UK oil cartels.
The US is also watching on, wearily, as Venezeula under Chavez continues to build strong relationships with countries like Iran and Cuba, two of the United States' longest enemies.
Chavez has announced he will cut off his country's oil supply to the US should the Bush White House attempt to invade and occupy Venezuela, or Bolivia.
Venezuela supplies the world with 20% of its supplies.
Earlier this month, Chavez expelled a US naval attache for what he declared was "esionage".
The US State Department responded to his action by tossing out a top Venezuelan diplomat.
Bush listens to a Hugo Chavez speech at the UN. This is not a happy man...
while Condi gives Chavez her trademarked withering stare.
In the past few days alone, Hugo Chavez has flexed his muscles in ways that are both threatening and absolutely shocking to the Bush Administration and major US oil industries.
Chavez insists the US are plotting to overthrow his government and take over the country. The United States keeps calling the Chavez claims "ludicrous" and "conspiracy theories".
Venezuela exports 1.5 million barrels of oil to the US every day, and Chavez said he could shut off the supply, plunging the US into massive fuel shortages.
"The government of the US should know that if they cross the line, they are not going to have Venezuelan oil. We have begun taking steps on this matter..."
In another blow to US energy interests, Chavez has stated his country's 151 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves will be distributed, first, to the domestic market, cutting out US energy giant Chevron, who had located seven trillion cubic feet of gas and had planned to send it to the US, where gas prices for home heating are soaring due to shortages.
After Venezuela, Chavez said the natural gas is for South American market, with Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay the main beneficiaries.
"And if we have any gas reserves left, we will send them to the U.S.," said Mr. Chavez.
Venezuela is planning to build a masive pipeline that will pump natural gas across the South American continent, reaching favoured countries and allies along the way.And now Exxon has fallen foul of Chavez's 're-nationalisation' of Venezuela's energy assets.
"Venezuela has removed Exxon Mobil Corp. from a multi-billion-dollar petrochemicals project amid wider differences with President Hugo Chavez's nationalist oil policies."