Chávez accuses US of plotting separation of oil rich state

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Zulia state, Venezuela

Hugo Chávez, President of Venezuela, has accused the United States of supporting a separatist movement in the oil-rich state of Zulia. Zulia has a large portion of Venezuela's oil and gas reserves and is ruled by governor Manuel Rosales, a friend of the United States.

The Zulian political organization, Own Course, a group of right-wingers opposed to Chávez, has proposed holding a referendum to form a neo-liberal capitalist economy in the Zulia state which shares borders with Colombia.

Chávez described the secessionist attempts as a crazy move and warned that the separatists could face military action. He said that the imperialists are attempting to give strength and form to the secessionist movement, with the goal of controlling the oil in the region.

President Chávez also claimed the secessionist movement is part of a plan by the U.S. to overthrow and kill him.