Venezuela has uncovered plans for a US-led invasion and is preparing
to defend the country against invading forces, President Hugo Chavez said in
a report carried by the state-run news agency.
The Bolivarian News Agency reported late on Friday that Chavez made the comments
during an interview with CNN. It was unclear when the interview was to be aired.
"If it occurs to the United States to invade our country - Fidel
Castro said it and I agree - a war will start here to last 100 years,"
Chavez was quoted as saying. "We are preparing to repel an invasion."
Chavez has made similar claims in the past, and US officials have repeatedly
denied them as ridiculous. Venezuela is the world's fifth largest oil exporter
and a major supplier of fuel to the US.
"We discovered through intelligence work a military exercise that NATO
has for an invasion against Venezuela, and we are preparing ourselves for that
invasion," Chavez was quoted as saying.
He said the military exercise is known as Plan Balboa and includes
rehearsing simultaneous assaults by air, sea and land at a military base in
Spain, involving troops from the US and NATO countries. US officials in the
past have said such training is meant to prepare troops for general scenarios
but not for a specify military action