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Venezuela Blames US for Deteriorating Relations

Venezuela is blaming the United States for deteriorating relations between the two countries.

Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel responded Wednesday to charges by U.S. officials that Caracas is seeking closer military and economic ties with Iran and North Korea.

Rangel said any moves Caracas makes are responses to what he called Washington's aggressions in the region.

A day earlier, U.S. National Intelligence Director John Negroponte criticized Venezuela for its growing relations with Iran, North Korea and Cuba.

Negroponte also accused Mr. Chavez of spending millions of dollars on what he called an extravagant foreign policy, at the expense of the Venezuelan people. He said Mr. Chavez is investing considerable sums of money in politics in other Latin American countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.