Hugo Chavez may have just started a new term in office, but his first press conference as the re-elected leader of Venezuela rang with familiar rhetoric.
On provocative form, as usual, he professed his support for the government of Bashar al-Assad, as part of his anti-US, anti-European and anti-imperialist discourse.
“How can I not support the Assad government?” he asked. “It’s the legitimate government of Syria. Who should we be supporting, the terrorists? The so-called “Transition Council” who are killing people everywhere? I don’t understand how some governments in Europe, that claim to be serious, have been meeting with terrorists.”
Officials in Venezuela say the state oil company has sent three shipments of diesel fuel to help Syria get round foreign blockades.
Chavez was re-elected with the smallest margin of victory of his 14 years in office. But he dismissed suggestions that Venezuela is divided.