CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, threatening to cut off oil shipments to the U.S. if its government supports any efforts to oust him, said that reconciliation with Washington was impossible.
Chavez said a thirst for oil motivated both the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and a failed 2002 coup against him. The outspoken leader has often accused the U.S. of being behind the coup, and Washington has repeatedly denied the allegation.
"There is no possibility of understanding for our revolution with the government of the United States, with U.S. imperialism," Chavez said during a news conference to mark the fifth anniversary of his return to power two days after the coup.
Chavez also said that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were "a gift for (President) Bush" because they enabled him to wage war.
He did say "coexistence" was possible, but warned: "If there were another aggression against us, there wouldn't be another drop of oil for the United States ... We're prepared for it."
Venezuela was the fourth-largest supplier of crude oil to the United States last year despite the antagonism between the former paratroop commander and the Bush administration.
Chavez alleged that Pedro Carmona, who briefly replaced him during the 2002 coup, tried to have him killed in a faked accident.
"There are witnesses that say Pedro Carmona Estanga issued an order from the presidential palace to kill me ... but to make it look like an accident, and he had just received a call from Washington," Chavez said at the news conference. "The order to get rid of me came from Washington."
U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield, asked about Chavez's remarks, listed more than two dozen accusations that he said Caracas has leveled against Washington recently.
"Look, I shouldn't do this, but I'm going to mention that during perhaps the last six months more or less, my government has been accused of (attempting) assassination, invasion, coup d'etat ... a campaign for abstention in the elections, a campaign to assure that the international observers offer negative opinions ... a campaign of espionage, a transport strike ..." Brownfield told reporters.
The U.S. government "wants to have the best relations possible with the Venezuelan government," said Brownfield, who was attending a conference on freedom of speech. "We aren't responsible for all the evils, all the problems in the world. If it were so, 300 million U.S. citizens would never have time to sleep and rest with so many plots."