Chávez says he would stop selling oil to US if Colombia attacks Venezuela
CARACAS — President Hugo Chávez threatened yesterday to halt oil sales to the United States if Venezuela is attacked by its neighbor Colombia, a US ally.
Chávez said during a speech to thousands of supporters that if there were an “armed aggression against Venezuela’’ from Colombia backed by the United States, “we would suspend shipments of oil.’’
Chávez said “we wouldn’t send one more drop’’ of oil to the United States, which is the top buyer of oil from the South American country.
The Venezuelan leader cut off diplomatic relations with Colombia on Thursday after outgoing President Alvaro Uribe’s government presented photos, videos, and maps of what it said were Colombian rebel camps inside Venezuela.
Chávez calls it a bogus show intended to smear his government and has said that Uribe could be trying to lay the groundwork for an armed conflict.
The Colombian government denies seeking a conflict. It says it went to the Organization of American States with its evidence about the rebels’ alleged presence in Venezuela last week because Chávez’s government had not taken steps to address the situation.
Chávez said he is canceling a trip to Cuba because of the tensions with Colombia.
He said in a newspaper column, however, that he will wait to see if Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia’s president-elect, expresses willingness to ease the diplomatic conflict. Santos is to take office next month.
“We have to receive clear and unequivocal signals that there is a real political will in the new Colombian government to take up the path of dialogue again, without tricks,’’ Chavez wrote.