July 31, 2006

Bush sees Chavez as threat undermining democracy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush said on
Monday he sees Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a threat to
undermining democracy but not a military threat.

Chavez has threatened to shut his government U.S.-based
refiners and sell oil to other nations if Washington decided to
cut diplomatic ties, a prospect that Washington has not
suggested it would do.

Bush told Fox News Channel's "Neil Cavuto" that Chavez'
threat is an "indication that we've got to make sure we've got
a wise energy policy in the United States" and repeated his
desire to wean the country from its dependency on foreign oil.

As for whether he sees Chavez as a threat to the United
States, Bush said: "No, not a military threat. We've got a very
strong military and we can deal with any threat to the homeland
there is. And will if we have to. But, no, I don't view him as
a threat. I view him as a threat of undermining democracy."