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Venezuela increases military strength to defend oil: Chavez
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11:00, July 30, 2007

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that his country, as a world energy power, is increasing its military strength to defend its wealth and resources.

"Venezuela has the biggest oil and gas reserve in the world, and our country is developing an energy model attacked by the government of the United States," Chavez said in his weekly radio and television show, Hello President.

Venezuela is no longer a colony of the United States, he said in the programme broadcast from the eastern state of Anzoategui in the Orinoco Oil Strip.

"The U.S. is like Dracula and it is desperate because it does not have reserves. That is why we are strengthening the economic and military power so nobody dares to come and rob us," Chavez said.

The president said his government has brought in a series of new laws and policies aimed at taking back Venezuela's oil fields from foreign companies.

"Those adjustments (policies) have made the (U.S.) empire and international companies nervous, triggering the Coup d'etat against my government in April 2002 and followed by oil stoppages in late 2002 and early 2003," Chavez said.

"In the forthcoming decades news stories will inform that certain countries' oil reserves are exhausted and the only reserves that will be available will be those in the Middle East, Russia and Venezuela," he added.

In a fresh effort to nationalize its oil industry, the Venezuelan government signed contracts with seven foreign oil companies on June 26 that will give the country the bulk of profits.

The contracts are the final step in the partial nationalization of the Orinoco Oil Strip, announced in January by Chavez.

Venezuela is Latin America's only member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and has a quota of 3.2 million barrels a day. More than half of Venezuela's oil is exported to the United States.

Source: Xinhua

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