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Venezuela: Chavez Denounces New Plot

President Chavez said exiles in Dominican Republic are planning a new coup against him. Declarations came after a bomb exploded at presidential palace
Shortly after Venezuela's Electoral Council appointed by the National Assembly rejected signatures collected to call on a referendum on Chavez mandate, the opposition appealed to the "civil disobedience" to challenge the government.

Last Friday a bomb exploded at Caracas' presidential compound shattering windows and damaging a guardhouse, but causing no injuries, according to official reports.

During the weekend, President Chavez denounced a plot being hatched in the neighboring Dominican Republic to topple his administrations. According to the Venezuela's leader, Carlos Andres Perez, a former country's President was behind the new attempt to overthrow his ruling. However, Perez denied such accusation, as accused Chavez of unfairly retaliating against the poor Caribbean Island.

In fact, Chavez ordered Venezuela's ambassador to Santo Domingo to return to Caracas to evaluate the situation and suspended oil exports to the island until Dominican authorities respond to accusations. Chavez said the Venezuela-Dominican oil deal "is suspended until this matter is clarified."

The Dominican government denied knowledge of any such plan going on in the country, as they expressed its concern over the oil issue. The Dominican Republic and other Caribbean and Central American nations have long received subsidized crude from Venezuela and Mexico, as badly need such aid.

Regarding Friday's explosion, the government said it was related to opposition attempts to tople it. Official sources told the foreign press in Caracas that the attack was "a terrorist act" that might be linked to recent telephone threats and intelligence suggesting the existence of a plot to kill Chavez.

Oil, always oil

According to local authorities, Venezuela will not recognize the Iraqi delegation at the next ministerial meeting of the "Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), as Iraq lacks a "legitimate" government now. The summit will take place next September 24 in Vienna, Austria, as it will be the first time that Baghdad attends an OPEC conference since the US-UK joint invasion.

"In Iraq there does not exist a government that could send a delegation to Vienna," said Rafael Ramirez Venezuelan Energy and Mining Minister. However, he added, informal conversations could be held with an Iraqi observer. "Iraq is a country under foreign occupation and to us there is no government," Chavez had said last week.

Venezuela's position comes in a moment in which internal political temperature rises after opposition's referendum bid failed. Venezuela repeatedly accused USA of being sympathetic with Government's foes, as even suggested that Washington was behind April 2002 frustrated coup.

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