Chavez only recognizes the Gaddafi government; accuses US of inciting civil war
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said he will only recognize a Libyan government led by his friend and ally Muammar Gaddafi and accused the United States of inciting the country's civil war.
Chávez accused Western powers of riding roughshod over international laws by supporting the rebels in their revolt against Gaddafi.
This is kicking, spitting ... on the most basic elements of international law, he said. Where are the international rights? This is like the caveman era.
Venezuela's leader spoke after rebels overran Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli in what appeared to be the end of his 42-year rule.
We only recognize one government, the one led by Muammar Gaddafi, Chávez said to applause as he presided over a cabinet meeting broadcast live on state TV.
During six months of civil war more than 30 countries, including the United States and major European Union countries, have moved to recognize the rebel National Transitional Council as the governing authority in Libya.
The 57-year-old former soldier one again accused Western powers of fuelling the conflict to steal Libya's oil.
They arranged this war, Chávez said, referring to the United States. They provided the arms, the mercenaries. They better not attempt to apply the Libyan formula to Venezuela or we'll have to show them our power.
Both Chávez and Gaddafi are military men who cast themselves as anti-imperialist revolutionaries and forged a friendship during half a dozen encounters in the past decade. They have enjoyed a long-standing alliance based on left-wing economic ideas, antagonistic relations with the United States, and their countries' membership in OPEC.
Some media reports have suggested Gaddafi, whose whereabouts remain unknown, could seek asylum in Venezuela but Chávez made no reference to that.
Meantime the Libyan Embassy in Buenos Aires announced it recognizes the National Transitional Council as the legitimate authority of Libya, the head of press of the Embassy reported.
Spokeswoman Norma Nur added that the embassy has moved away the green flag of the state founded by the leader Muammar Gaddafi in 1969 and changed it for the green, black and red flag of the monarchy previous to Gaddafi’s administration that identifies the rebels.
However in Brazil the pro-Gaddafi Libyan ambassador Salem al-Zubaidi said he would remain in his post.
The Brazilian authorities still consider me the ambassador, al-Zubaidi said. However, his claim is being challenged by part of the Libyan community in Brazil's capital Brasilia, where the Libyan embassy recently witnessed clashes between local Libyans of the pro- and anti-Gaddafi camps.
On Friday, supporters of the anti-Gaddafi rebels tried to replace the embassy's Libyan flag with the rebel flag, but were stopped by the ambassador's son and the embassy guards.
Three days later, another group of people entered the embassy, saying they would not leave until Muammar Gaddafi stepped down.
Communication with Libya is very difficult. We have to wait three or four days to get clear information, al-Zubaidi said.
After Libya's rebels took control of most of the Libyan capital Tripoli Monday, Gaddafi's 41-year rule seems to be over. However, his whereabouts remain unknown.