PARIS, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took a fresh swipe at his arch foe the United States on Friday, saying Washington was unable to handle the financial crisis and wanted to use a worthless dollar to own the world.
The leader of South America’s biggest oil exporting country had just met French President Nicolas Sarkozy on a visit that had already taken him to Cuba, China, and Russia.
“The Americans harass us and attack us... (they) want to buy the world with paper that does not have any value,” Chavez told reporters in the courtyard of the presidential palace.
Washington expected to remedy the current crisis “by running the money printer, and I strongly doubt we’ll be able to resolve the crisis that way,” he said.
An official from Sarkozy’s office who spoke on condition of anonymity said the French president had urged Chavez to think ahead to the next U.S. administration and not give his adversaries a pretext to “caricaturise” him.
The official added that France was eager to help Venezuela diversify its economy and was ready to transfer technology in the transport and energy sectors, as well as in defence to help fight illegal trafficking in the Caribbean.
Chavez said the activities of French oil companies Total (TOTF.PA) and Perenco came up in his talks with Sarkozy, as well as projects involving the auto industry and underground trains in Caracas. Further talks would be held at a meeting on October 2-3, he added.
U.S. oil companies Exxon (XOM.N) and ConocoPhillips (COP.N) quit Venezuela after Chavez launched nationalisation programmes last year, while Total and Norway’s StatoilHydro STL.OL reduced their holdings and received around $1 billion in compensation. (Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry; Writing by Brian Rohan; Editing by Giles Elgood)