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Chavez says arrows await “gringo” invaders

CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez on Sunday said he would have a nasty welcome waiting for U.S. forces he insists are preparing to invade his country — arrows laced with Indian poison.

The left-wing former soldier, who has ordered his military to train civilian reserves for a guerrilla war, including the use of bows and arrows, often accuses Washington of planning to invade to control Venezuela’s vast oil reserves.

U.S. officials dismiss his assassination and invasion charges as populist rhetoric meant to mobilise supporters before presidential elections in December. But they say Chavez is an anti-democratic threat to the region.

With an audience of ministers, army officers and local officials chuckling, Chavez remarked on how he would target U.S. soldiers with arrows covered with curare, an Amazon Indian poison made from plants.

“I am going to practice with a bow and arrow. If we have to put a few arrows into any invading gringo, then you’ll be done in 30 seconds, my dear gringo,” Chavez said pointing to his neck during his regular Sunday television broadcast.