Chavez slams the U.S., praises China, condemns Israel

Venezuelian  president hugo Chavez complained about U.S. not letting him acquire the U.N. Security Council seat. He also condemned Israel's strikes in Lebanon comparing them to the Nazi actions and praised China for its partnership with Venezuela, AP reports.

The left-leaning Chavez also said Venezuela wants to expand ties with China, giving Beijing a bigger role in its oil industry and drawing on the communist government's experience in modernizing its economy.

President Hu Jintao on Thursday endorsed Venezuela's campaign for a Security Council seat. The bid has unsettled Washington due to Chavez's efforts to foster relations with North Korea and Iran. U.S. officials are backing Guatemala for the seat instead.

"The U.S. government has employed every means to block my country from joining the Security Council," Chavez told reporters. "The American imperialists are trying to stop us."

Chavez condemned Israeli attacks in Lebanon since July 12 that have killed civilians. He compared them to the acts of Hitler, the Nazi German leader, and said Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for genocide before the International Court of Justice.

"Israel is doing the same thing as Hitler today," he said. "We give our sympathy to the Arab people and condemn Israel."

Chavez said he was invited to visit Syria but hasn't set a date. He said he has no plans to meet with Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, whose guerrillas are fighting Israeli forces in Lebanon.

Chavez, an admirer of Mao Zedong, founder of the communist Chinese government, was on his fourth trip to China since taking office in 1999.

On Thursday, he signed agreements that call for Beijing to help Venezuela, the world's No. 5 petroleum exporter, develop oil fields, a telecoms network, farming and gold and coal mines.

China is eager for access to Latin American energy sources to fuel its booming economy, while Chavez wants to reduce Venezuela's dependence on the United States, its key export market.

On Friday, Chavez showed reporters a chart depicting a planned sharp increase in the share of Venezuelan oil produced and refined by joint ventures with China in coming years.

He said Venezuela plans to almost quadruple sales to China to 1 million barrels a day in the next decade.

Chavez said China and Venezuela would jointly build refinery project in his country to process 1 million barrels of crude a day, though he didn't give other details.

"China has rich experience in this field," he said. "China will provide personnel, training and experience and technology in the lower end of this industry."

Also Friday, Chavez visited the headquarters of China's space program in the Beijing suburbs, where technicians are building a communications satellite to be launched in 2008 for Venezuela.

He said 29 Venezuelan students were in China earning Ph.D.s and master's degrees, mainly in aerospace fields.

During the weekend, Chavez planned to travel to the eastern city of Jinan, where he reportedly was to visit Chinese companies involved in developing Venezuelan gold and coal mines.