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Venezuela threatens to cut oil exports to U.S

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (L) waves to supporters as he arrives at a rally in Caracas November 30, 2007. President Hugo Chavez needs to rely on a vast get-out-the-vote machine to avoid an unprecedented defeat when Venezuelans cast ballots on Sunday in a referendum on letting him run for re-election indefinitely. REUTERS/Daniel Aguilar

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela’s leftist President Hugo Chavez said on Friday he will cut oil sales to the United States if the American government interferes in Sunday’s referendum aimed at allowing him to run for reelection indefinitely.

Chavez told supports at a rally that the state oil company will halt sales to the United States on Monday if Washington interferes with the vote on the proposed constitutional reform.

The Venezuelan leader and Cuba ally also said he had ordered the military to protect oil fields and refineries in case of political violence.

The reform would also give him direct control over foreign currency reserves while reducing the workday to six hours and expanding social security benefits for informal workers like street vendors.

Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Christian Wiessner