- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 20, 2006

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took his verbal battle with the United States to the floor of the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, calling President Bush “the devil.”

“The devil came here yesterday,” Chavez said, referring to Bush’s address Tuesday. “He came here talking as if he were the owner of the world.”

The leftist leader, who has joined Iran in opposing U.S. influence, accused Washington of “domination, exploitation and pillage of peoples of the world.”

“We appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our head,” he said.

He also said the U.N. “doesn’t work” in its current system and is “antidemocratic.” He called for reform, saying the U.S. government’s “immoral veto” had allowed recent Israeli bombings of Lebanon to continue unabated for more than a month.

“Venezuela once again proposes today that we reform the United Nations,” he said. He drew tentative giggles at times from the audience, but also some applause when called U.S. “imperialism” a menace.

Chavez lambasted Washington for trying to block Venezuela’s campaign for a rotating seat on the U.N. Security Council. He said if chosen over U.S.-favorite Guatemala in a secret-ballot U.N. vote next month, Venezuela would be “the voice of the Third World.”

The U.S. government warns that Chavez, a close ally of Iran, Syria and Cuba, would be a disruptive force on the council.

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