CARACAS, Venezuela, Apr 19 (Reuters) Ratcheting up a war of words with Washington, President Hugo Chavez today said that Venezuela would blow up its oil fields if a US attack he has repeatedly warned about becomes reality.
While many Chavez supporters in poor neighborhoods consider a US invasion a real threat, critics and most international observers call it a far-fetched fantasy designed to fire up Chavez's political base.
''We would not have any alternative ... We will blow up our own oil fields ... they are not going to take that oil,'' Chavez said in comments broadcast on state television from a meeting of South American presidents in the Paraguayan capital Asuncion.
''If they harm us there will not be any oil for anyone.'' he added.
Chavez yesterday said that the recent deployment of US warships in the Caribbean Sea threatened his country and its ally Cuba.
Venezuela is the world's No.5 oil exporter and a major supplier to the United States At permanent loggerheads with Washington, which accuses him of destabilizing Latin America, leftist Chavez often warns of a planned US invasion to oust him.
Washington brushes off the possibility of an attack as fantasy.
REUTERS PG PM0128