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Chavez Denies US Charges of Supporting Colombian Rebels

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has strongly denied U.S. charges that he is supporting Colombian rebels or trying to destabilize other countries in South America.

Mr. Chavez Thursday accused the United States of spreading lies and said he wants U.S. officials to prove their recent charges.

U.S. State Department officials say they have mounting evidence that Venezuela - the world's fifth-largest oil exporter - uses its wealth to buy weapons for guerrillas in Colombia.

Mr. Chavez called the United States a "terrorist state."

Venezuela is a key oil supplier to the United States. But Mr. Chavez - a frequent critic of the United States - has been developing closer political and energy alliances with South American countries, China, Russia, India and Iran.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.