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Venezuelan President Lashes Out Against Bush


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has lashed out against President Bush, calling him a war criminal who should be imprisoned.

Mr. Chavez spoke to reporters in Caracas Thursday, one day after Congress granted him the power to rule by decree for the next year-and-a-half.

The Venezuelan president said Mr. Bush and John Negroponte, nominated for the number two position at the U.S. State Department, should be tried and imprisoned for what he said were war crimes.

Mr. Chavez's comments come after Mr. Bush on Wednesday expressed concern about the situation in Venezuela. He told Fox News he was worried about the undermining of democratic institutions there.

The new measure allows Mr. Chavez to impose changes in several key areas, including the energy sector and the military.

U.S. officials have expressed repeated concern about the democratic process in Venezuela.

Critics say the new measure places too much power in the hands of the president, who they accuse of moving the country toward a totalitarian form of government that resembles Cuba.

But supporters of President Chavez say his policies, including the latest measure, comply with the constitution.

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