Chavez Calls Bush 'Asshole'
Sunday, February 29, 2004 8:39 p.m. ET
CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called President Bush an "asshole" on Sunday for meddling, and vowed never to quit office like his Haitian counterpart as troops battled with opposition protesters demanding a recall referendum against him.
Chavez, who often says the U.S. is backing opposition efforts to topple his leftist government, accused Bush of heeding advice from "imperialist" aides to support a brief 2002 coup against him.
"He was an asshole to believe them," Chavez roared at the huge rally of supporters in Caracas. "Mr. Bush must know that if he gets the mad idea of trying to blockade Venezuela, or, even worse, of invading Venezuela, if that happened, the people of the United States should know that not a drop of oil would reach them from Venezuela, not a drop more."
The Venezuelan leader's comments came as fresh violence broke out on the streets of the capital, where National Guard troops clashed with opposition protesters pressing for a vote to end his five-year rule. Military helicopters roared in low runs overhead as soldiers fired tear gas and plastic bullets to repel several hundred opposition demonstrators who threw stones and set up burning barricades in eastern Caracas late into the night. Troops and opposition activists also skirmished in other cities.
But the firebrand populist vowed to defeat any attempt to unseat him and threatened to cut off oil supplies to the United States from the world's No. 5 crude oil exporter should Washington try an invasion or trade sanctions.
"Venezuela is not Haiti and Chavez is not Aristide," he said.
Over 100,000 supporters of Chavez marched earlier on Sunday to protest what they condemned as U.S. meddling in Venezuelan affairs.