Citing an alleged report from Russia's Northern Fleet, the Venezuelan strongman's state mouthpiece ViVe TV shot out a press release saying the 7.0 magnitude Haiti quake was caused by a U.S. test of an experimental shockwave system that can also create "weather anomalies to cause floods, droughts and hurricanes."
The station's Web site added that the U.S. government's HAARP program, an atmospheric research facility in Alaska (and frequent subject of conspiracy theories), was also to blame for a Jan. 9 quake in Eureka, Calif., and may have been behind the 7.8-magnitude quake in China that killed nearly 90,000 people in 2008.
What's more, the site says, the cataclysmic ruin in Haiti was only a test run for much bigger game: the coming showdown with Iran.
The ultimate goal of the test attack in Haiti, the report reads, is the United States' "planned destruction of Iran through a series of earthquakes designed to topple the current Islamic regime."
The story has since been taken down from the Venezuelan Web site, but a Google cache of the charges remains intact.
The publication of the story came just days after Chavez himself accused the U.S. of using the earthquake as an excuse to "invade and militarily occupy Haiti," a nation so poor that its entire economy is based on foreign aid — particularly from the U.S.
"The empire (the U.S.) is taking Haiti over the bodies and tears of its people," he said at a press conference.
"I read that 3,000 soldiers are arriving, Marines armed as if they were going to war. They are occupying Haiti undercover."
By week's end, some 16,000 U.S. troops are expected to be providing humanitarian assistance in Haiti, where they have taken control of the only working airport and are coordinating relief efforts on the ground.