Monday, February 21, 2005

Under John Negroponte? 

Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, accused George Bush of plotting to assassinate him yesterday, and warned that all Venezuelan oil exports to the US would stop in the event of his death.

"If I am assassinated, there is only one person responsible: the president of the United States," Mr Chavez said during his weekly radio and television show, Hello President . . . .

Mr Chavez accuses the CIA of having a hand in the military coup that briefly deposed him in 2002, and says the US continues to back his political opponents.

The Bush administration has denied involvement in the attempted overthrow, but appeared to give its approval at the time. A prosecutor investigating the coup attempt died last year when his car was booby-trapped with explosives.

The Chavez government suggested the assassination had been carried out by former Venezuelan officers who were involved in the putsch, some of whom now live in exile in America . . . .

Despite the feud between their governments, the two countries' economies remain entwined. Oil is Venezuela's largest export and the US buys about 1.5m barrels a day, making it the fourth-largest supplier of American oil.

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