Girish Gupta

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Libyan officials in Venezuela - Chávez
Apr. 26, 2011

Libyan officials are currently in Venezuela discussing possible solutions to the war there, according to Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez.

The left-wing leader and friend of Col Gaddafi has told diplomats that NATO airstrikes in Libya are aimed at killing Col Gaddafi and make no sense. This is not the first time Chavez has spoken out against airstrikes, along with his disdain for the west.

In early March, Chávez proposed setting up a multinational committee to mediate between the Libyan government and rebels in the North African country. He talked of creating a group of “friendly countries” that would peacefully resolve the conflict.

He accused the United States of simply wanting to seize Libya’s oil reserves, and “care nothing about the lives of the Libyan people,” he said on Venezuelan state television. “We know what is going to happen: bombs, bombs, war, more suffering for the people. This is the hand of capitalism."

Despite claiming support from the Libyan leader, Chavez’s peace plan, thought to include backing from popular former Brazilian leader Luiz Inácio da Silva, fizzled out. Col Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam said Libya did not need help from friends who had “no idea” about his country.

When trouble first began in Libya, it was rumoured that Col Gaddafi had fled to Venezuela. It turned out to be untrue but Chavez and the Libyan leader are good friends.

Col Gadaffi once suggested they set up a “NATO for the South” together, calling it “SATO”. Chávez once presented Col Gaddafi with a replica of the sword owned by his hero Simón Bolívar, the South American independence hero. The Libyan leader in turn named a football stadium ear Benghazi after Chávez; the rebels have since renamed it.

Chávez also lent his support to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad this week, condemning the west’s “imperial madness” for attempting to oust him by force.




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© Girish Gupta