Sunday, February 19, 2006

"She messed with me again"

Hugo Chavez to Condi Rice: 'Don't mess with me, girl'

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez launched a new verbal attack against US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, bluntly warning her "don't mess with me, girl."

Responding to remarks before the US Congress last week in which Rice called Chavez a "challenge to democracy" in Latin America, Chavez warned the top US diplomat to back off.

"She messed with me again," he said in his weekly "Hello President" television show, deliberately mangling her name as "Condolences." "Don't mess with me, girl."

Last week, after her US Congress testimony, Chavez dismissed Rice as "the imperial lady."

He vowed Sunday that Washington would fail in its bid to arouse international opinion against Caracas, and accused the George W. Bush administration of fomenting transit strikes and other unrest to destabilize his country.

"Venezuela is free and however much they may try to instigate internal movements here, we will defeat them," he said.

On Friday, Chavez had warned that he was taking steps to potentially cut off oil shipments to the United States if Washington attacks his country.

US-Venezuelan relations have gone downhill since Chavez was elected seven years ago. He frequently accuses Washington of plotting against him, and has charged it backed an aborted coup in 2002.

Relations hit a new low earlier this month when Caracas expelled a US naval attache on espionage charges, prompting Washington to retaliate by kicking a Venezuelan diplomat out of the United States.

Despite the war of words, Venezuela remains the fourth-largest supplier of crude oil to its northern neighbor, selling it about 1.5 million barrels daily.


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Via Thoughts of a Regular Guy