Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Thursday warned of a global energy disaster if the United States invaded his country to seize its oil reserves.
During an interview broadcast by the state-run VTV television, Chavez said the US Defense Department is interested in Venezuela's Orinoco region, which has a crude reserve of 300 billion barrels.
He said the Venezuelan intelligence services have learned of a US plan to invade his country and capture the oil fields.
Under the US plan, code-named Balboa, a number of ships, men and bombs will be used for invasion of the major cities of Caracas, Maracay and Valencia, according to the president.
Chavez vowed that the US soldiers "will bite the dust" if they invade Venezuela.
Relations between Venezuela and the United States have been deteriorating over recent years, and Caracas accused Washington of supporting an abortive coup to overthrow Chavez in April 2002.
Chavez also accused Washington of planning to assassinate him, which the US government has denied.
Venezuela, with a daily 2.8-million-barrel output, is the second most important producer of crude oil in Latin America, next only to Mexico. It is the region's main exporter with 1.5 million barrels of oil being shipped out every day.