Chavez on Katrina: 'The cowboy left his population adrift'

The Venezuelan President offered aid to the United States

The Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez harshly criticised his US counterpart George W. Bush for his action after the disaster caused by the hurricane Katrina in the southern coast of the United Sates and offered $1 million in aid to support rescue operations. Last week, the Latin American leader called Bush a “cowboy” who had failed to manage the emergency and evacuate victims.

"That government had no evacuation plan, it is incredible, the first power in the world that is so involved in Iraq ... and left its own population adrift," Chavez said in a cabinet meeting broadcast live on television. Chavez is a critic of the White House but following the tactics of his closest ally, the Cuban leader Fidel Castro, tries to become a spokesman of the US impoverished masses.

"That man, the king of vacations ... the king of vacations in his ranch said nothing but, you have to flee, and didn't say how ... that cowboy, the cowboy mentality," said Chavez, chuckling in a reference to Bush without naming him directly. “He told people to flee, but failed to tell them where. Many of them followed the rute of the hurricane”, added the Venezuelan leader.

But the Venezuelan president, who leads his self-proclaimed Socialist Revolution in South America's oil richest country has not only criticised Bush. Chavez's administration offered to send cheap fuel, humanitarian aid and relief workers to the disaster area. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan state oil giant PDVSA has offered $1 million from its U.S.-based refinery unit Citgo for relief efforts.

The two governments frequently clash though the United States is the top oil client of Venezuela, the world's No. 5 crude exporter. Despite the aid offered Washington portrays Chavez as a menace who uses his nation's oil wealth to fund anti-democratic groups.

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Author`s name Olga Savka