Venezuela and Mexico concerned on al Qaeda threat

Both Latin American countries have reinforced security after a branch of al Qaeda called for attacks on energy suppliers to the United States.

Mexico and Venezuela have issued orders to reinforce security of strategic oil areas, fearing threats from al Qaeda to attack on energy suppliers to the United States could disband production.

Despite reassurances from the secretary of the interior, Mexican legislators asked the government on Thursday to redouble control and surveillance of strategic oil areas of the country. Venezuela will also reinforce security measures, the defense minister said on Thursday.

In Mexico, deputies from PRI (Institutional Revolutionary), PRD (Democratic Revolution), PAN (National Action) and Convergencia parties expressed their concern that the Mexican nation will be attacked and urged authorities to carry out an investigation. Although the government office of the Interior indicated it had already taken the necessary measures, the secretary commented there is no evidence that al Qaeda might attack Mexican oil facilities.

In Venezuela Gen. Raul Baduel told reporters that security and intelligence agencies would "take actions and implement previously established security plans, but reinforce them with the goal of guaranteeing security." He called for calm and said President Hugo Chavez would provide further instructions about how to deal with the threat.

The threat came as a surprise in Caracas, as Chavez is an outspoken critic of US foreign policies who frequently berates the United States as an "imperialist" power. Chavez’s foes were ironic on the news. “Maybe al Qaeda could shut his mouth”, told Pravda.Ru Mariela, who lives in Caracas and voted for the opposition in December presidential election.

Luis Cabrera, a military advisor to the president, earlier had questioned the authenticity of the threat in comments published by local media. He said it was illogical that "al Qaeda, which is against North American imperialism, would go against a state that is fighting, though in a different way, against that hegemony."

Venezuela’s oil exports to the United States constitutes the core of the country’s economy. Despite frequent diplomatic clashes, Caracas still depends on oil shipments to the US as Washington is interested in keeping the South American nation as a reliable supplier.

Hernan Etchaleco

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov