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Chavez mocks missile base reports

By Rafael Romo, CNN Senior Latin American Affairs Editor
Chavez has given a tongue-in-cheek response to reports his country is building missile launchers.
Chavez has given a tongue-in-cheek response to reports his country is building missile launchers.
  • Venezuelan president implies wind energy park confused foes
  • Chavez says mockingly 3 missile launchers pointed toward U.S.

(CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez mocked reports that his country is building missile launchers in its territory with the help of Iran.

Speaking at a nationally televised meeting with his cabinet, Chavez implied that a wind energy facility in the Paraguana Peninsula situated in northern Venezuela by the Caribbean Sea might have given his international opponents the wrong idea.

"They (the missiles) are pointing towards Washington," Chavez said with a straight face. "Every missile launcher can shoot three missiles and all three of them, each one of them, are at ninety-degree angles from each other, which means that one can be pointed towards Washington, the other towards New York, and the third one, where would it be? Miami?"

He then added that he thinks "what they saw was the wind energy park of Paraguana from a satellite (and got confused)."

A report published last month by the German newspaper Die Welt said that an Iranian Revolutionary Guard-owned construction company had already visited the site of a secret joint project in Venezuela.

The report was discredited by both Caracas and Washington. "We have no evidence to support this claim and therefore no reason to believe the assertions made in the article are credible," the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

The Venezuelan foreign minister Nicolas Maduro called the report by the German newspaper "an extravagant lie," adding that "there is an international war machine against the prestige of Venezuelan democracy, against the prestige of the Bolivarian Revolution."

During Wednesday's televised cabinet meeting, Chavez showed a photograph of wind mills built in the Paraguana Peninsula. Chavez also criticized the U.S. decision to impose sanctions on Venezuela for working with Iran in the energy sector.

The U.S. State Department last week announced that Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA was among seven companies located in Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Monaco, in addition to Venezuela, "engaged in activities related to the supply of refined petroleum products to Iran."