Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez attacks Colombian newspaper El Mundo for criticizing the recent nuclear energy deal between Venezuela and Russia, saying that its editorial pages are “dictated from Washington,” reports RCN Radio.
Chavez claimed that the newspaper had generated rumors that the United Nations should intervene in the agreement.
While Chavez did not name names, the Venezuelan news agency pointed to the Colombian newspaper “El Mundo” and referenced “one of the major news agencies in the world” claiming that they have “unleashed a campaign of vilification” against the nuclear deal by claiming that Venezuela is a nuclear threat.
The Venezuelan news agency said that the “newspaper accused the Venezuelan government of violating the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons” but that the reality was that the nuclear power plant is “intended for peaceful purposes, specifically as a source of alternative energy.”
According to the Venezuelan news agency the claim by “an alleged ‘nuclear expert'” in El Universal that the deal will create dependence on Russia is patently false, as the need to buy from Russia arose out of the refusal of the United States to sell weapons to the country.
The news agency claims that Venezuela has expanded its market and partnered with many different countries, and that this criticism is part of a grander strategy to violate the sovereignty of the country, “… the reality is that nations like the U.S. and its allies, including Spain, Israel, and NATO countries, insist on ignoring the sovereignty of Venezuela, and seek to establish themselves as the world’s policemen, with double standards clearly apparent.”
The 500 megawatt nuclear power station reached by the deal will take several years to build, but Chavez is facing elections next year, and has seen his congressional majority significantly diminished in recent polls.
Severe water and energy shortages from a drought in 2009 and the beginning of 2010 caused discontent among the Venezuelan people, but were blamed on inefficiencies and waste by government reports.
Both Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chavez insist that the plant will be used only for peaceful energy purposes, but the deal follows more than $4 billion in Russian military sales to Venezuela.
U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said, “Any new nuclear program or activity should be conducted in accordance with the highest standards of non-proliferation, safety and security … Venezuela and Russia have international obligations and we expect them to meet those obligations.”
Venezuela has often accused Colombia of being too close to the U.S., and in 2009 broke relations in response to Bogota‘s signing of a deal to allow the U.S. military access to Colombian military bases.