Assad chavez 311 AP.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met with Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday and called on Latin America and the Arab world to fight what he called America's imperialist and capitalist interests abroad.
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Assad also strongly criticized Israel, calling the Jewish state's government "extremist" and condemning its blockade of Gaza.
"The resistance must be supported," he said.
During a meeting at Venezuela's presidential palace, Chavez told Assad
it was an honor to host the Syrian leader on his first visit to Latin
America. Chavez presented Assad with a gold-plated replica of a sword
that once belonged to South American independence hero Simon Bolivar —
the inspiration for his "Bolivarian Revolution."
The two leaders
signed an agreement to create a $100 million trade and development fund.
civilization and our civilization, the Latin American one, are being
summoned in this new century to play the fundamental role of liberating
the world, saving the world from the imperialism and capitalist hegemony
that threaten the human species," Chavez said. "Syria and Venezuela are
at the vanguard of this struggle."
Assad praised Chavez for
standing up to the United States and supporting the Palestinian
"There are few politicians who are courageous to speak
out when it's necessary," he said through an interpreter. "Chavez has
projected the image of a resistant Venezuela."
Chavez is perhaps
Latin's America's most outspoken critic of the United States, lashing
out at the US government for purportedly conspiring against him and
meddling in the region's affairs. US officials, in turn, have raised
concerns that Chavez is becoming increasingly authoritarian.
also took a dig at the US soccer team, celebrating Ghana's 2-0 victory
of the Americans in a decisive World Cup match earlier on Saturday.
"What a blast! Ghana won, Ghana defeated the United States," he said.
also condemned the UN Security Council for tightening sanctions against
Iran as a means of curbing development of the Islamic state's nuclear
Assad said all nations, including Iran, "have the right
to develop nuclear energy."