Venezuela to import oil as crisis steams up

The South American country is the fifth world largest oil exporter. However, at the gates of the third week of national strike, its Government has been now forced to buy one million barrels of crude to compensate country's halted production.

In normal conditions, Venezuela exports 2.5 millions barrels a day. Now, according with official sources, have negotiated with its subsidiary located in Virgin Islands - South Caribbean Sea - the supplying of oil until the end of the crisis.

During the last days, the conflict between President Hugo Chavez and the opposition has reached international status. Again, as in the previous crisis of April, which ended in a frustrated military coup, the US State Department supports opposition exigencies. Ariel Fleisher, White House spokesman asked Chavez for anticipated elections, something strongly refused by Caracas as it is not stated in the Constitution.

Chaez replied to Fleisher through a CNN interview in which he invited Washington to read Venezuela's Constitution before making public its opinion on the crisis. "Pressure from oil managers will not make me resign", he added while characterized opposition as a "group of fascist conspirators."

The opposition, in turn, called for a massive demonstration in the eastern side of Caracas, to ask for the resignation of the President. As Chavez speaks on them as fascists, the opposition denounces his will is to make of Venezuela a "Castro-communist republic."

All shows that this long - running conflict will enter into definition zone this week. It is expected that OAS representatives will release an official statement expressing its view on the crisis. Latin American Ambassadors to Caracas are also preparing a document stating region position.

"Fascists" and "Castro-communists" enter into the third week of national strike. Analysts, in turn, lose hopes on a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina

Photo: President Chavez holds an edition of the National Constitution