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Venezuela's Chavez Threatens to Detain US Officials Involved in Spying


Venezuela President Hugo Chavez has threatened to detain U.S. officials if they are caught collecting sensitive information about Venezuela's military.

The statement, issued Friday, came hours after Mr. Chavez's government accused the U.S. Embassy in Caracas of involvement with a group of Venezuelan military officers accused of spying.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy told Reuters news agency that officials there have had no official communication with Mr. Chavez's government and could not comment.

The military officers are accused of gathering information for the U.S. Defense Department. Venezuela says some of the officers have been detained and others have left the country.

Relations between the two countries have been strained since Mr. Chavez took office in 1999.

The U.S. recently opposed Venezuela's acquisition of military transport and maritime surveillance aircraft, saying it threatened regional stability.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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