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Montevideo, February 4th 2023 - 21:05 UTC



Oil threat ups security

Friday, February 16th 2007 - 20:00 UTC
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Venezuela will reinforce security measures after a branch of al Qaeda called for attacks on suppliers of oil to the United States, the defence minister said on yesterday.

An article posted on the Internet, purportedly by a Saudi Arabian terrorist faction affiliated with al Qaeda, urged Muslim militants to attack oil facilities all over the world, including Canada, Mexico and Venezuela, to stop the US oil supply. "Cutting oil supplies to the United States, or at least curtailing it, would contribute to the ending of the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan," the article said. The group said it was making the statements as part of Osama bin Laden's declared policy. But it has not been possible to verify independently that the posting was from a terror faction. Venezuela provides around 11 percent of US oil imports despite diplomatic tensions between Caracas and Washington over a the leftist reform campaign led by President Hugo Chavéz, who frequently berates the United States as an "imperialist" power. Gen. Raúl Baduel told reporters that security and intelligence agencies would "take actions and implement previously established security plans, but reinforce them with the goal of guaranteeing security." He called for calm and said Chavéz would provide further instructions about how to deal with the threat. Chávez spoke to community groups for nearly two hours during the afternoon without mentioning the al Qaeda threat. Venezuela's interior minister said on Wednesday the government was ready to carry out any investigation necessary to ensure the continued functioning of the nation's oil industry. Chávez has repeatedly threatened to cut off oil supplies to the United States if the Bush administration moves against him, and said Wednesday said the United States was free to stop buying Venezuelan oil. The former soldier, who last year called US President George W. Bush "the devil" during a speech at the United Nations, was slow to condemn the September 11 attacks. He later sparked a diplomatic flap with Washington by harshly criticizing the US invasion of Afghanistan, describing it as "the slaughter of the innocents," leading the United States to recall its ambassador for consultation. Saúl Ortega, president of the foreign policy committee in Venezuela's National Assembly, claimed that "it was not al Qaeda" that posted the article, but "an unit of the US CIA that supposedly did a translation... attributed it to al Qaeda." Ortega said the threat was part of a US "terrorist strategy" to "prepare the terrain" for terrorist activity in Venezuela. Mexico said its crude installations were safe and that there was no need to step up security. President Felipe Calderón's office said it was evaluating the threat. Luis Cabrera, a military advisor to the president, earlier had questioned the authenticity of the threat in comments published by local media. He said it was illogical that "al Qaeda, which is against North American imperialism, would go against a state that is fighting, though in a different way, against that hegemony." Roberto Campa, executive secretary of Mexico's National Public Security Council, said the nation's Interior Department said there is no evidence to back up the threats against oil facilities, which are heavily guarded. Buenos Aires Herald

Categories: Energy & Oil, Latin America.

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