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Venezuela, US Officials Trade Barbs


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has lashed out once again at the United States, calling President Bush an "assassin" and a "crazy man."

Mr. Chavez made the comments Thursday in a speech in Caracas after U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon strongly criticized the Venezuelan government in testimony to a congressional committee.

Mr. Shannon told the committee Thursday that Mr. Chavez is a threat to democracy, and is a destabilizing factor in Latin America.

The United States has had tense relations with the Chavez government. The Venezuelan leader has repeatedly accused the United States of planning to invade Venezuela and topple his government. Washington denies any such plans.

Despite the harsh rhetoric between the two nations, Venezuela remains a chief supplier of oil to the United States.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.