OCT 20 2005



Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez, says he is in possession of intelligence showing that the United States plans to invade his country.


In a BBC interview, Mr Chavez said the US was after his nation's oil, much as it had been after Iraq's.


But he stressed that any invasion would never be allowed to happen.


Mr Chavez has long accused Washington of being behind what he describes as a coup claims the United States denies.


An attempt to unseat him three years ago was aborted.


The Venezuelan president was interviewed by the BBC's Robin Lustig in Paris, while on an official visit to France.


Asked why he thought the US was trying to invade Venezuela, Mr Chavez said: "We have denounced intentions.


"A coup happened in Venezuela that was prepared by the US. What do they want? Our oil, as they did in Iraq.


"We have detected with intelligence reports plans of a supposed invasion, one that would never happen. But we have to denounce it," Mr Chavez said.


Recently a US TV evangelist, Pat Robertson, called for his assassination. Mr Chavez said this would be "cheaper than invading Venezuela".

Mr Robertson's remarks were described by the US State Department as "inappropriate", and Mr Robertson later apologised for them.

'No threat'


Mr Chavez went on to describe the US as a terrorist government.


"It is an imperialist government, one that says it fights against terrorism but protects it. The US throws stones to Latin America.


"But apart from that, Venezuela is the world's fifth oil exporter, and we send a million and a half barrels to the US every day," he added.


"We sell oil to people. Another thing is our political differences that I wish could be toned down."


He also denied claims that Venezuela was a threat to the international community, saying that his country wanted open relations with the whole world a multi polar world but "with respect".


"George W Bush should not have any reason to fear. If he does it is because he has a dark ghost in his subconscious," he said.


Controversial leader

Correspondents says the Venezuelan president has cultivated ties with other countries that have strained relations with the US chiefly Cuba and Iran.


Washington officially sees him as an unfriendly head of state in South America.


Mr Chavez, 55, first came to prominence as a leader of a failed coup in 1992.


After being released from prison, he embarked on a political career that swept him to power in 1998, with a promise to transform Venezuela.

Relations with Washington reached a low when he accused it of "fighting terror with terror" during the war in Afghanistan after 11 September.


The situation hardly improved when Mr Chavez accused the US of being behind the failed coup to oust him in 2002, and of funding opposition groups.

The country's vast oil reserves the largest in the Americas have given it a strategic importance, but the US state department denies trying to overthrow the president.








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