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Chavez charges US election coup in venezuela 2005

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Chavez charges U.S. plot before Venezuela vote
Thu Dec 1, 2005 8:08 PM ET

By Patrick Markey

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Thursday accused U.S. President George W. Bush of trying to destabilize his government by engineering an opposition boycott of a December 4 legislative vote.

"Another conspiracy has been activated against Venezuela and I am not going to blame the dogs but the masters, the government of the United States," Chavez said.

"The one responsible for this conspiracy is the head of the empire: Mr. Danger. To give him his proper name, Mr. George W. Bush," he said in a late-night address.

The Venezuelan repeated accusations the CIA was probing his security detail to try to assassinate him, but gave no proof.

Chavez, a self-described socialist revolutionary at odds with Washington, made his charges after opposition parties announced a boycott of the weekend vote they fear will be manipulated by electoral authorities biased toward the president.

Washington denies charges from Chavez that U.S. officials are plotting his overthrow or assassination. They say he has eroded democracy by controlling institutions such as the courts and the election council that oversees ballots.

U.S. officials say Chavez is trying to stir nationalist sentiment to mobilize his power base among the poor.

Earlier on Thursday, several thousand government workers waving flags joined political party militants chanting, "The people are going to vote," as they marched through Caracas to the council to show support for Chavez.

"Those who don't vote are sucking up to Bush. Go Home Gringo," read one protest banner.

Most polls showed pro-Chavez lawmakers would increase their slim majority in the 167-seat chamber. But the opposition boycott will likely allow them to secure at least a two-thirds majority they need to push through constitutional changes.

Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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