2005-08-10 00:52:19 UTC
Chavez: U.S. will 'bite the dust' if it invades
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told
thousands of visiting students that if U.S. forces were to invade the
South American country, they would be soundly defeated.
The U.S. government has strongly denied Chavez's claims that it is
considering military action against Cuba's closest ally in the
But Chavez said late Monday that the U.S. government, which "won't stop
caressing the idea of invading Cuba or invading Venezuela," should be
warned of the consequences.
"If someday they get the crazy idea of coming to invade us, we'll make
them bite the dust defending the freedom of our land," Chavez said to
He spoke during the opening ceremony of a world youth festival bringing
together student delegations from across the world and convened under
the slogan "Against Imperialism and War."
Chavez called the United States the "most savage, cruel and murderous
empire that has existed in the history of the world."
The Venezuelan leader said "socialism is the only path," and told the
students the collective goal is to "save a world threatened by the
voracity of U.S. imperialism."
Earlier, the students waved flags, danced in traditional dress, and
signs praising socialism, Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Ernesto "Che"
More than 300 students from the United States shouted out their
disapproval of U.S. President George W. Bush, chanting "Get out Bush!"
Other students chanted: "Bush, fascist -- you're a terrorist!"
Some 15,000 youths from 144 countries traveled to Venezuela for the
weeklong festival and conference, organizers said.
Chavez wore a red shirt like many of the students, and embraced
delegation leaders as their groups marched past.
The ceremony was held in Venezuela's military headquarters in Caracas.
Troops looked on while students passed carrying colored flags and
shouting: "We will overcome!"
This year's World Festival of Students and Youth is the 16th. The
in 1947, was held in Czechoslovakia, and during the Cold War most host
countries were aligned with the Soviet bloc.
Apart from the former Soviet Union, other host countries have included
Romania, Poland, Finland, Cuba, the former East Germany and North
The weeklong gathering will include musical performances, panel
discussions and an "Anti-imperialist Court," which in past years has
condemned the U.S. government's actions.
While tensions have grown between Chavez and Washington, the Venezuelan
leader has built close ties with countries from Iran to China.
Chavez expressed his support Monday for Iran's new president, Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, saying he expects to continue strengthening relations.
Chavez said like Venezuela, Iran is a country that has been "attacked"
for many years by "the hand of imperialism."
Chavez, whose country remains a major supplier of oil to the United
States, also is sharply critical of the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan