Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a socialist and fierce U.S. critic, warned on Tuesday that relations with Washington could worsen if Republican candidate John McCain wins this year’s presidential election.
Chavez said he hopes the United States and Venezuela can work better together when his ideological foe, U.S. President George W. Bush, leaves the White House next year, but he said McCain seemed "warlike."
"Sometimes one says, ‘worse than Bush is impossible,’ but we don’t know," Chavez told foreign correspondents. "McCain also seems to be a man of war."
Chavez — who has called Bush "the devil", "a donkey" and ‘Mr Danger" — accuses the United States of having imperial designs in Latin America and says the White House has plotted his overthrow.
McCain calls Chavez a dictator who wants to emulate retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Although Venezuela remains a key supplier of oil to the United States, relations have steadily deteriorated since Bush took office in 2001.
Chavez is an outspoken critic of the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and has accused Washington of stirring unrest in Tibet to destabilize China.
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