Chavez in Syria lambastes Israel

NEW YORK (JTA) — Israel is an imperialist country that annihilates people, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in Syria.

Chavez lashed out at Israel at a joint news conference in Damascus with his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

“Israel has become a country that annihilates people and is hostile to peace,” Chavez was quoted as saying through an interpreter. “I believe it is a fateful battle. It’s either now or never in order to liberate the world from imperialism and change the world from a unipolar into a multi-polar world.”

Chavez is in the region on an 11-day visit that will take in Libya, Algeria, Syria, Iran, Belarus and Russia.

The outspoken Venezuelan leader in recent years has been a harsh critic of Israel, expelling its ambassador to Caracas and forming a close alliance with Iran.

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